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Govt must advertise jobs: SC

- Applications have to be invited through media

New Delhi, Aug. 18: Any appointment to a government job made without the post being advertised in the media violates Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Article 14 mandates equality before the law, and Article 16 says the State shall not discriminate between citizens in matters relating to appointment to public offices.

The ruling came as the apex court recently upheld a Bihar government appeal against a high court bench quashing the dismissal of an illegally appointed police constable, Chandreshwar Pathak.

Pathak had pleaded that he should be allowed to continue in the job because he had already served the police for 16 years. The bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and A.K. Goel rejected the argument.

“In the absence of any advertisement or selection process, the appointment of the respondent is not protected and could be validly terminated,” the apex court ruled.

It said that for any public appointment, a notice must be published in the appropriate manner calling for applications, and all the applicants must be considered fairly.

“Even if the names of the candidates are requisitioned from the employment exchange”, the employer must “invite applications from all eligible candidates from the open market by advertising the vacancies in newspapers having wide circulation or by announcement in radio and television”, the court said.

“If any appointment is made by merely inviting names from the employment exchange or putting a note on the notice board, etc, that will not meet the requirement of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. Such a course… deprives the candidates who are eligible for the post from being considered.”

Those recruited in violation of these provisions are not entitled to any relief, not even their salary, the court said.

In January 1988, Bihar’s then CID inspector-general had appointed Pathak as a temporary constable with the stipulation that he could be sacked without assigning any reason. Pathak continued in service till September 2003, when the CID sacked him.

In April 2010, a single-judge Patna High Court bench dismissed Pathak’s petition saying it was not satisfied that he had “made out a case for interference with the order of termination from what appears to be an illegal appointment based on the spoils system”.

“The petitioner must perish by the same sword by which he came,” the judge ruled.

But a division bench quashed Pathak’s dismissal in January 2012, prompting the government challenge.

“Learned single judge was justified in dismissing the writ petition while the division bench erred in interfering with the same,” the apex court ruled.