Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed government to work out vacancies of junior engineer (grade-II) after allowing candidates selected by Service Selection Board (SSB) an option for being appointed on the basis of the merit list.
The SSB had issued three advertisement notices—in December 2012, February 2013 and December 2013—inviting applications from the eligible candidates for the posts of junior engineers (grade-II).
Subsequently, the SSB after completing the selection process made recommendations to the government for appointing the selected candidates.
However, a number of candidates moved the High Court challenging the selection of selected candidates on various grounds.
Senior advocate R A Jan, representing aggrieved candidates, submitted that at least 192 candidates figure in all the three lists. He argued that the SSB had committed error by making recommendations to the government for appointing these candidates in all the three selection lists.
“Had the SSB after selection of the candidates obtained options from them as to in which list they would like to figure, the candidates figuring in the waiting list would have no difficulty to find place in the merit list, and others who were not selected would have found place in the waiting list.
“Because of the illegal and unreasonable exercise undertaken by the (SSB), the merit of the candidates who would have otherwise either figured in the selection list or waiting list has become casualty,” Jan said.
The manner in which the SSB has dealt with selection process, he said, has caused serious prejudice to rights of the petitioners.
Advocate Tasaduq H Khawaja, SSB’s counsel, argued that before making the selection list public, a decision was taken to seek options from the selected candidates who figured in all the three lists. He said it was done to ensure that one candidate does not figure in three or two lists to enable the board to recommend more candidates for appointment on the posts of junior engineers (grade-II).
He said that some of candidates refused to give their option saying that they would first like to see their position in other lists. Khawaja also submitted that the SSB then took a decision that the selection lists along with statutory waiting list would be forwarded to the government. After the appointed candidate joins on a post, he said, the other post against which the candidates is selected would ultimately become available for the next meritorious candidates.
Advocate Mian Qayoom, representing some of the selected candidates, submitted that his clients have joined after the appointment orders were issued in their favour.
“The controversy raised in this petition has narrowed down. It is only to be ascertained as to how many posts would become available after the candidates, who have been selected and appointed against more than one post, on the basis of his/her merit have joined on the appointed posts,” observed a single bench of the High Court comprising Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar.
Subsequently, the court directed government to issue a public notice within four days, informing the selected candidates, who figure in more than one list, to exercise their option for being appointed on the basis of the merit list in which he or she figures.
“After receipt of the options, the (government) to issue appointment orders in favour of the selected candidates. Wherever appointment orders have already been issued and the selected candidates have joined, but they figure in more than one selection list, they can also exercise their option in the aforesaid manner,” the court said.
Subsequently, the court directed government to work out the vacancy position which will become available after carrying out the exercise and ask the SSB to update and reframe the merit list as also the waiting list and make fresh recommendations accordingly.
“The entire exercise shall be concluded within eight weeks,” the court said.