“No instance of irregular or illegal appointment can be condoned simply because the candidate was allowed to continue for a number of years on those posts,” the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ruled.
The ruling came from a CAT bench headed by Justice KB Suresh, which quashed the appointment of Dal Chand Nai, who was made extra departmental branch post master at Bhatikra, Aligarh, in 1996.
Nai’s appointment was challenged by Suman Kumari, a resident of Hathras and a fellow applicant for the post. She was refused the post, while Nai got the job despite having low marks in matriculation, which was the only required qualification for the post.
Kumari had contended that Nai was appointed on the lone post despite having only 43.8% marks in his matriculation examination, compared her 53.3%.
Nai had sought dismissal of Kumari’s plea contending that the August 1996 order for his appointment had been challenged after 13 years and that her challenge was time-barred. Nai had further argued that he could not be removed from the post as he had been in service since 1996. According to him, there was no valid ground to challenge his appointment.
However, Kumari contended that an appointment, which is irregular ab initio (right from the beginning) and not in accordance with the rules could not be justified simply by the fact that the applicant was allowed to work for some years before steps were taken to rectify the mistake.
Despite issuance of the show cause notice, Nai was allowed to continue in service on the strength of stay orders granted by the administrative tribunal’s Allahabad bench.
Citing a 2005 ruling of the Supreme Court, the CAT’s principal bench in New Delhi said: “In such a situation, his appointment cannot be sustained even though he was allowed to continue for a few years before corrective steps were initiated and subsequently on the strength of interim orders of this Tribunal. Nor can it be justified by his conduct on the post.”
The CAT said an illegality in appointment of a government employee couldn’t be condoned to let him continue in service simply because he has been serving for long and accordingly asked the secretary, Department of Posts and Post Master General (Agra Region), to look into the whole selection process afresh.