The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court recently ruled that 'Law of Pleadings' does not go missing when it comes to the matter of maintaining a writ petition before the High Court and it does not recognize any exception for an individual or an institution coming as a petitioner.
The bench comprising Justices Sindhu Sharma and Rahul Bharti made these observations in a plea wherein the petitioner Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (J&K PSC) had challenged a judgment of the Central Administrative Tribunal Jammu Bench, under Article 226 of the Constitution.
While perusing the record, the bench noted that the petitioner PSC had invited applications for the single post of Lecturer, (Medical Oncology), Govt. Medical College (GMC), Jammu and in response to the said advertisement, the selection process culminated in issuance of a selection notification thereby declaring the proforma respondent no. 5 herein, namely Dr. Mohd. Hussain Mir, as being selected by the petitioner J&K PSC. Record also revealed that there were only three eligible candidates who had competed for the selection and called by the J&K PSC for the interview in which one absented leaving only two that is the proforma respondent no. 5 Dr. Mohd. Hussain Mir and the respondent herein Dr. Rajeev Gupta in the fray and ultimately resulted in selection of the proforma respondent no. 5 Dr. Mohd. Hussain Mir.
Feeling aggrieved by the selection and recommendation of the proforma respondent no. 5 Dr. Mohd. Hussain Mir, the respondent Dr. Rajeev Gupta, came to challenge the said selection cum recommendation of the proforma respondent no. 5 Dr. Mohd. Hussain Mir and consequently staked his claim for the selection.
The bench further noticed that the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench, vide its judgment dated February 3rd, 2022, allowed the petition of the respondent Dr. Rajeev Gupta and accordingly Dr. Mohd. Hussain Mir's selection came to be set aside. The Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench came to hold that there was an element of bias operative in the interview effecting the marks given by the experts.
The bench also noted that before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench, neither the proforma respondent Dr. Mohd. Hussain Mir nor the two experts, who were named as party in the case,had chosen to appear and rebut the claim and charge of the respondent Dr. Rajeev Gupta, and hence the three were proceeded set ex parte in the case.
Adjudicating upon the matter the bench observed that the first thing to attract attention of the Court is that the challenge to the judgment is not by the proforma respondent Dr. Mohd. Hussain Mir, whose selection for appointment for the post was set aside by the Central Administrative Tribunal and secondly not even either of two or for that matter even both the experts have come forward to contest the observations amounting to finding in the Tribunal's judgment as to their biased status in the matter of interview and last, but not the least, lack of the essential averments in the writ petition as to the legal basis of the grievance/objection of the petitioner J&K PSC against the impugned judgment.
Dealing with the subject the bench expressed its curiosity by recording that the impugned judgment of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench has not impinged on any aspect as to the interpretation of the Rules/Regulations governing the constitutionally prescribed working/functioning of the petitioner J&K PSC in the matter of carrying out the selection process in reference and then as to how the petitioner J&K PSC could afford itself the cause to come up with the present writ petition except at the cost of impression of being prejudiced against the petitioner.
"The fact remains that the writ petition is divorced of the elementary pleading as to the locus standi of the petitioner J&K PSC in assailing the impugned judgment of the Central Administrative Tribunal Jammu Bench which is surely not affecting or meaning to affect any legal/statutory/constitutional right and status of the petitioner J&K PSC", the bench recorded.
Delving deep into the subject the bench further observed that it is clear that the locus standi has been missed from being pleaded in the writ petition by the petitioner J&K PSC and the writ remedy is not meant to be invoked by a proxy as is, in fact, the present case.
The writ jurisdiction of this Court is, no doubt, that of equity but still it cannot afford to overlook the glaring lacunae of the writ petition and still proceed to extend it a hearing on the merits of the cause, the court said.
A case in all its legal contour has to be pleaded is a writ petition bearing clarity and conception not only for the opposite party's reply but for the court as well to apply in full the faculty which is commonly known as the application of mind, the bench underscored.
"The writ petition constrains us to observe that there are no pleadings to show, lest to prove, the locus standi of the petitioner J&K PSC in the facts and circumstances of the case", the bench concluded while dismissing the plea.
Case Title : J&K PSC Vs Dr Rajeev Gupta
Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (JKL) 96