Raising serious questions over the selection criteria of Punjabi University, the Punjab and Haryana high court has quashed the appointment of an assistant professor in physical education department in June 2011 on the grounds of arbitrariness on the part of selection committee.
Terming the appointment as 'illegal and unjustified', the court has also directed the university management to make a fresh selection after interviewing the shortlisted candidates.
In its May 15 order, the court also pulled up the varsity authorities for not having proper criteria for selection of candidates for academic posts.
In this case, one of the applicants Jaskiran Singh Sidhu had challenged the appointment of Amarpreet Singh as an assistant professor in the physical education department, alleging that his claim to the post was ignored in spite of his merit and higher marks.
According to Sidhu's petition, Amarpreet was appointed to the post even as he had scored 53.47 marks and was ranked 5th on the merit list, against his score of 73.821 marks and his number 1 rank on the merit list.
It was also alleged that the selection committee recommended Amarpreet's appointment on the basis of his interview, notwithstanding the fact that the committee had not laid down any criteria to test the ability of the candidates in the interview.
This is not for the first time that the appointments made by university have been questioned. Previously too, several eligible candidates whose merit was ignored during recruitment have approached court from time to time to
In its judgment on May 15, the court stated that the petitioner Jaskiran Singh Sidhu is PhD against the MPhil qualification of Amarpreet Singh.
The court set aside the selection on the ground that the selection committee failed to adopt any criteria for assessing the respective merits of the candidates.
The court added that the petitioner had various publications and research papers to his credit and as a result at the time of short-listing of candidates, he was given 73.81 marks on 100, while Amarpreet was given only 53.47 marks.
"Nothing has been brought on record as to how many marks were awarded to the petitioner and to Amarpreet in the interview, as no criteria was admittedly laid down at the time of personality test," the court said.
It also questioned the fact that if neither grades nor criteria to assess the performance of the candidates were laid down by the interview board, then how were the candidates rated and also how was a candidate with an excellent academic and research
record found to have been weak.
It has also directed the university to make a fresh selection after interviewing all shortlisted candidates after laying down transparent and relevant criteria within two months of the order.
University registrar Devinder Singh said "We are yet to get the court orders. Appropriate action will be taken after we receive the orders."
Criteria laid down by the University Grants Commission
In appointments made by varsities to a teaching post, this is the ratio in which various achievements and skills are granted weights and awarded marks.
30% Based on the Assessment of Domain Knowledge and Teaching Skills
20% Postgraduate qualification
20% Interview performance.
15% Undergraduate qualification
10% Research work and papers published
5% For NET/PhD
Nothing has been brought on record as to how many marks were awarded to the petitioner and to the selected candidate in the interview, as no criteria were admittedly laid down.