HC Orders Completion Of Selection By SKUAST (K) Despite Govt Order

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday directed SKUAST (K) to proceed with and conclude the selection process regarding appointment of Assistant Professor and Jr. Scientist in various disciplines advertised on March 7 last year.

The posts advertised included Assistant Professor and Jr. Scientist in the disciplines of Veterinary Physiology, Live Stock Production Management, Veterinary Public Health and Veterinary Biochemistry. However despite lapse of about nine months, the selection process has not made any progress beyond screening stage.

The university stated the selection process was put on hold in view of the communication of the Finance Department on 4 July 2019. Following notice to the government by the high court, the latter filed a status report, revealing that the Finance Department has issued a circular on 4th July, 2019, in terms whereof the SKUAST was required to seek financial concurrence before advertising the posts in question and that it had to route the proposal through Administrative Department i.e., Agriculture Production Department which has not been done.

The government also mentioned that the employer is otherwise within his rights to cancel any selection process by recalling the posts advertised and the advertisement issued before the selection is actually made.

“The question, therefore, for determination would be, as to whether the SKUAST was justified in issuing the advertisement notification in question without the concurrence of the Finance Department?” a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said.

While the Finance Department had ordered that no recruitment against the vacant posts shall be made by the public sector undertakings, autonomous bodies and societies without the prior concurrence of the Finance Department, the court observed that the University has clarified that advertisement was made prior to July 4 last year and that the order of the Finance Department has a prospective effect.

“The selection process is stalled because of the order issued by the Government which is not under challenge but as per the stand of the SKUAST the same has the prospective effect,” the court said, adding, “This Court is not inclined to go into this aspect of the case and return any finding as regards the competence and role of the Government in the case in hand as that is not the issue raised in the petition. The court, therefore, has to only settle the issue regarding completion of the process of selection against the advertised posts notwithstanding the order issued by the Government.”

In view of the issue raised, the court said that it feels unnecessary to embark upon the powers of the government and the University qua the concurrence as the University has, on its own, accepted the order issued by the government qua requirement of concurrence before the issuance of advertisement for making selection against any post.

But the fact of the matter, the court said, is that the Government order that puts the selection process on hold is prospective in nature, therefore, the same does not have any bearing to the case in hand. “Further, in view of the stand taken by the SKUAST and the petitioners having not questioned the Government order, therefore, there is no question for consideration of this Court whether the State Government has any power to override the decision of the appropriate authority of the University when such power is not conferred directly upon the Government under the Statute or regulation framed thereunder,” the court said, adding, “This question is kept open for future consideration as and when such eventuality arises.”

Finally, the court allowed the plea to the extent of directing the University, SKUAST to proceed with and conclude the selection process after allowing all eligible candidates to participate, notwithstanding the Government order under dispute. (GNS)

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