Provision of appeal only on the day of medical examination itself in U.P. Police Constables and Head Constables Services Rules, 2008, struck down

Allahabad High Court: Deciding upon the issue of rejection of the candidature of the appellants  to the posts of Constables and other equivalent posts in Uttar Pradesh Police on medical grounds, the Court held that  Appendix 5(3)(d) to Rule 15(f) of the U.P. Police Constables and Head Constables Services Rules, 2008 is unreasonable and arbitrary as it does not give sufficient time to file an appeal and secondly, in the absence of reasoned order any appeal is an empty formality, thus, arbitrary and violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

Challenging the vires of the provisions of the 2008 Rules, the petitioners contended that non-furnishing of the reason for rejection was totally illegal and arbitrary. The impugned provision provided that:

“(d) Any candidate not satisfied by his medical examination, shall file an appeal on the day of examination itself. No appeal with respect to the medical examination shall be entertained if the candidate fails to appeal on the day of his medical examination and announcement of the result of the same. The appeal should be disposed of by the medical Board constituted for the purpose within one month of the appeal being filed.”

Perusing the record, the Court observed that in all the cases the candidates’ appeals had been rejected in a mechanical manner without assigning any reason, and the order of the Appellate Medical Board appeared to be a rubber stamp decision, which did not inspire confidence. As the 2008 Rules  provided only an appeal, there was no provision of revision or review. Hence in the absence of a reason, the appeal is illusory inasmuch as the candidate does not know the ground on which it was rejected. The Court observed “that assignment of reasons is imperative in nature. The judicial trend has always been to record reasons, even in administrative decisions, if such decisions affect anyone prejudicially. It is a trite law that even if a statute is silent and it does not provide the principles of natural justice or are not embodied in rule, if by an order a statutory authority affects a citizen with civil or evil consequences, it must meet the test of reasonableness. Civil consequences cover everything that affects a citizen’s civil life.” The Court further observed that is trite that in the realm of diagnosis and treatment there is a scope for genuine difference of opinion. Hence a brief description of the deficiency with a brief reason is necessary to eschew the arbitrariness.

The Court summarised its directions as follows:

  • The provision of Appendix 5(3)(d) to Rule 15 of the Rules, 2008, “on the day of the examination itself. No appeal with respect to the medical examination shall be entertained if the candidate fails to appeal on the day of his medical examination and announcement of the result of the same” is struck down as arbitrary and ultra vires.
  • A fresh Appellate Medical Board shall be constituted within two months, as directed above. A candidate, who is aggrieved by the order of the Medical Board, may file an appeal to the Appellate Medical Board within two weeks. The freshly constituted Appellate Medical Board shall continue in future recruitments also until appropriate amendment is made in the Rules, 2008;
  • In the existing Appellate Medical Board at the Divisional level one doctor shall be of the rank of Professor of a Medical College nominated by the Principal of the concerned college.
  • The petitioners’ appeals shall be considered by the newly constituted Appellate Medical Board.

[Vandana  v.  State of Uttar Pradesh, 2016 SCC OnLine All 619,  decided on August 10, 2016]

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