Selection Commission cannot breach it’s own selection criteria to favour ineligible candidates

Supreme Court: In the matter where the selection to the post of Principals to different Colleges in the State of Uttar Pradesh was challenged for alleged violation of Regn. 6 of the Uttar Pradesh Higher Education Services Commission (Procedure for Selection of Teachers) Regulations, 1983, the bench of Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla and S.A. Bobde, JJ affirmed the decision of the Allahabad High Court where the selection was set aside and it was directed that the U.P. Higher Education Service Commission shall consider and frame appropriate guidelines for conduct of interview for selection on the post of Principal of Postgraduate/Degree Colleges in accordance with law as mandated by Regulation 6(2) of the 1983 Regulations and further take early steps for filling the vacant posts of Principal of Postgraduate/Degree Colleges in accordance with law.

The State Government enacted U.P. Higher Education Services Commission Act, 1980 to establish a Service Commission for the selection of Teachers which includes the post of Principals for appointment to the colleges affiliated to or recognized by the University under the 1973 Act as there were numerous complaints regarding the selection of candidates for both the post of Teachers as well as the Principals in the post graduate colleges as well as the degree colleges. The High Court had held that there were serious lapses in the procedure followed by the Commission in making the selection for the post of Principals of the Post Graduate as well as Degree colleges in as much as the Regulation 6 of the 1983 Regulation was not strictly followed and that the necessary guidelines under the said Regulation were not formulated both for screening the candidates as well as in the matter of holding the interview, apart from serious violation in the matter of calling of the candidates for interview beyond the prescribed limit as provided under the Regulation 6.

In the present case, initially the Commission decided to limit the number of candidates by fixing the norms. The Commission by fixing the cut-off mark as 34.9 for female candidates 35.1 for male candidates proceeded to process the applications but subsequently the index norms were altered and ultimately it decided to call all the candidates. It was alleged that such variation was adopted by the Commission with a view to favour certain candidates who otherwise did not come within the zone of consideration for participation in the interview.

The Court, considering the facts of the case, held that the High Court was well justified in holding that the changing of the norms while applying Regulation 6(1) for the initial screening thrown considerable doubt about the genuineness in the selection process adopted by the Commission. When greater faith and trust was invested with the Commission and when the Commission breached its own criteria and thereby acted contrary to the standards laid by it, it resulted in an arbitrary selection made by it. [Veerendra Kr. Gautam v. Karuna Nidhan Upadhyay, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 704, decided on 15.07.2016]

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