Srinagar: The Supreme Court has given breather to 64 Drug Inspectors whose selection by J&K Service Selection Board (JKSSB) in 2009 was annulled by J&K and Ladakh High Court in 2021.
“In light of the pertinent selection procedure that was followed, we are unable to hold that the same was mechanical or casual or suffered from irregularities which were so grave or arbitrary in nature so as to justify quashing the entire selection process,” a Division Bench of the Apex Court comprising Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said.
The top court said the while entire selection list had been quashed by the High Court primarily on the ground of non-availability of individual award rolls or marksheets awarding marks individually, the same was “unsustainable”.
“…we are unable to trace the requirement of individual rolls being signed and verified by the members of the Selection Board, to any statute or rule. Therefore, we cannot sustain the finding of the High Court that the entire selection process was vitiated by such irregularity,” the apex court said, adding, “The High Court was not justified in quashing and setting aside the entire selection process, more so when sixty-four candidates had been serving on the said post for over a decade.”
The SSB vide advertisement notice dated May 5, 2008 had invited applications for the posts of Drug Inspectors.
In its select list published on 8 September 2009, the Board had recommended 64 candidates for appointment as Drug Inspectors.
Some aggrieved candidates had challenged the select list before the single bench of the Court which decided their petitions in 2015. This single bench judgment was challenged by the selected candidates in various appeals which were decided by the division bench in 2021.
“The candidates who were declared successful in the selection process conducted on 8th September, 2009, for appointment of drug inspectors in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and the appointments published on 12th November, 2009, were permitted to continue in service by virtue of stay of the impugned judgment. The stay order is made absolute,” the top court added.