7 Aug 2023 8:27 AM GMT
The Madras High Court has constituted a 2-member committee to make a detailed report on the appointments of 254 candidates to the post of Assistant Professors in the institutions of the Pachaiyappa’s Trust pursuant to the recruitment notifications dated 12.12.2013 and 18.02.2014. Former Madras High Court Judge Justice B Gokuldas will be the Chairman of the committee and Dr. Freeda...
The Madras High Court has constituted a 2-member committee to make a detailed report on the appointments of 254 candidates to the post of Assistant Professors in the institutions of the Pachaiyappa’s Trust pursuant to the recruitment notifications dated 12.12.2013 and 18.02.2014.
Former Madras High Court Judge Justice B Gokuldas will be the Chairman of the committee and Dr. Freeda Gnana Rani, Ex-Principal of Quaid-e-Millath Government College for Women will be the other member of the committee.
The bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq directed the committee to look into the requisite qualifications and eligibility criteria as prescribed under the recruitment notifications under which the appointments were made and to look into the qualification and other eligibility criteria of all the appointees to see if they are eligible or not.
The committee is to function from August 7 and all the necessary documents are to be produced by the appointees before August 19, in person. After scrutinizing all the documents and considering all the details, the committee has been directed to submit the report confidentially in a sealed cover before the court on or before September 27.
The court was hearing appeals against a single-judge order declaring the appointment of 254 Assistant Professors in colleges managed by Pachaiyappa Trust as null and void after it was found that the appointments were tainted with malpractice. The single judge had observed that since it was not possible to segregate the tainted and non-tainted appointments, it was preferable to cancel the entire appointment. This order was later kept in abeyance by a division bench.
Though the appellants challenged the single-judge order on the ground of maintainability and locus standi, the division bench noted that based on the factual background of the case and the documents/papers placed before the court, it cannot be denied that there are serious irregularities in the appointments made to the teaching faculties to various colleges and institutions of the trust. The court added that though some persons appointed may be well-qualified, most appointments are mired in controversy.
“This Court, in such view of the matter, cannot shut its eyes to the glaring illegalities, allegations and irregularities that have brought the institutions of the Trust, ignominy, to say the least. It has also resulted in disillusionment and lack of trust in the method of selection, in public employment. This Court is, thus of the view that the writ petitions cannot be thrown out on hyper technical grounds of maintainability and locus standi. The writ petitioners have proved that they are aggrieved by their non-selection and that singular factor is, in the present case, enough to maintain these writ petitions, especially since they have made specific allegations of illegalities in the selection and appointment,” the court said.
The court also said that it is not in favour of omnibus quashing of all appointments as the qualified candidates cannot be treated in the same manner as unqualified candidates. The court observed that though in the interest of Article 14 and Article 16 of the Constitution, it is necessary to strike down all illegal appointments, the interest of qualified persons, who have a right to public employment, could not be interfered unnecessarily for no fault of theirs.
“Keeping in mind the principle that unequals cannot be treated equally, and that, those who were qualified, cannot be dealt with in the same manner as unqualified candidates appointed illegally without possessing necessary qualifications, this Court is not in favour of omnibus quashing of all appointments, as that would be painting everyone with the same brush, which, in the circumstances stated above, would not stand scrutiny before law and would amount to gross injustice and offend the equality doctrine,” the court observed.
Case Title; P Elangovan and others v R Prema Latha and others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 220
Case No: WA 2558 of 2022