Though it granted Leave to Appeal, the Supreme Court has refused to stay the Madras High Court judgment which had quashed the appointment of 11 members to the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar said the state can enter a fresh selection process for members of Public Service commission.
What has been stayed?
In its judgment, the Madras High Court had directed that any future appointment must keep in mind “awareness in public domain to have a wider pool of talent”. The apex court, in its order, said this part of the order shall be kept in abeyance.
As regards the direction by the high court to have a meaningful and effective deliberative/ consultative process, the apex court said meaningful and effective deliberations will be required for a selection process to be valid. But the court added that the direction to the extent that it requires a meaningful consultative process shall not be implemented.
‘Deadwood’ not ‘eligible’
The high court had held that a district judge, who was not allowed by the high court to continue the service beyond the age of 58 years, is ineligible to hold the constitutional post of a member of the State Public Service Commission. The apex court clarified in its order yesterday that he would remain ineligible for future appointments also. Justice Khehar reportedly quipped that only “deadwood” is not given the two-year extension.
Attorney General vs. SC Bench
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Tamil Nadu Government, said the posts in the TNPSC had started falling vacant since 2013, and appointment of the 11 members was made after considering a total of 122 candidates from 2013 to 2016. The Bench said both recommendation and acceptance was done in one day and that is arbitrary. “These members of the PSC shall select Class 1 officers… if you do not have bona fide people worthy of their jobs, where will your State go? You must repeat the process of appointments!” CJI asked Attorney General.
“Just because the Constitution does not prescribe anything, does not mean you [State government] do nothing. Nobody is prescribing the levels of calibre and integrity for you… but you have to be satisfied that the person is suitable,” Chief Justice Khehar added when the Attorney General said that it is not for the court to decide on such appointments.
Read the order here.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.