P&H HC | Date of eligibility is synonymous to the date of appointment for a particular post

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Augustine George Masih, J. disposed of the present petition on grounds of it being infructuous.

The Petitioner challenged the order passed by the Collector, Patiala; order passed by the Divisional Commissioner, Patiala Division; and order passed by the Financial Commissioner, Punjab, whereby the appointment of Jagtar Singh (Respondent 5) was upheld as Lambardar of Village Basma, Tehsil Rajpura, District Patiala.

The petitioner contended that Jagtar Singh had defrauded the official respondents and the State as he had with a mala fide intention shown that he had purchased some land by way of sale deed, which was done with an intention to fulfill the eligibility condition for appointment to the post of Lambardar. The said land was, in fact, sold by the petitioner to another seller on 17.01.2011. He, therefore, contended that the appointment could not be sustained and deserved to be set aside. Pursuant to the said action of Jagtar Singh, his own appointment as Lambardar of the village had been cancelled by the District Collector.

It was argued by the opposing counsel that on the date of appointment of the said respondent i.e, he was eligible and, therefore, the appointment could not be said to be illegal. Since the appointment of the respondent had been cancelled, the present writ petition had been rendered infructuous. It was further asserted that the date of eligibility was the date of appointment by the Collector.

After considering the submissions made by the counsel for the parties, the Court held that in the light of the eligibility to be seen being the date of appointment on the post of Lambardar, the appointment of Jagtar Singh could not be said to be illegal as, on the said date, he was eligible for appointment to the post of Lambardar. In case of any violation of the statutory rules at a subsequent stage by a Lambardar, the competent authority i.e. the District Collector was entitled to take action against such an appointed Lambardar, which had been taken by the District Collector, S.A.S. Nagar. Since Respondent 5 was already removed from the post of Lambardar, the present writ petition was rendered infructuous. [Satnam Singh v. Financial Commissioner, Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 2260, decided on 26-11-2019]

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