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Punjab And Haryana HC Issues Notice To 63 Judicial Officers In A Petition Challenging Their Selection

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has put 63 Judicial Officers on notice, on an application in a Petition demanding setting aside of the selection and appointments of Civil Judges (Junior Division)-cum-Judicial Magistrates in a reserved category for Punjab Civil Services (Judicial Branch) for 2013-14 vide selection list dated April 1, 2014.

The Bench comprising Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Shekher Dhawan is hearing a Petition filed by Gurkirat Singh Dhillon, who had demanded that his viva voce/ interview be re-conducted, in accordance with the procedure laid down by the State.

The Advertisement inviting applications for 71 posts of Civil Judges (Junior Division)-cum-Judicial Magistrate in the State of Punjab was published by the PPSC on March 8, 2013. Out of the total, 10 posts were reserved for ex-servicemen/lineal descendants of ex-servicemen-general. The Petitioner had applied in this category. Two posts in the category, however, remained vacant.

Mr. Dhillon has now contended that the State had ignored Rule 4 of the Punjab Recruitment of Ex-Servicemen Rules, 1982 while preparing the list of selected candidates. He submitted that in the absence of an ex-serviceman, the descendant child of an ex-serviceman, to whom the vacancy could be given, had to be dependent on the ex-serviceman.

The selected candidates, however, had been practicing in different Courts as Advocates or were otherwise employed, at the time of their selection. “Such advocates could not be treated as dependents of ex-servicemen father for earning livelihood. They must be treated as gainfully employed,” he has, therefore, submitted.

Mr. Dhillon has, further, emphasized on the fact that, in violation of the selection agenda approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, the Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman was not present for the interviews. This, he has claimed, was a “serious irregularity” and had the effect of vitiating the entire recruitment process.

He had initially impleaded eight candidates selected in the reserved category of ex-servicemen/lineal descendants of ex-servicemen-general, to which he belonged. He has now, however, moved an application to make other selected candidates parties as well, submitting that the Chairman’s absence and failure to constitute the necessary quorum of the selection committee affected the selection of all other selected candidates as well.

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