Service Law – Distance Education – Lab. Technician (MLT) – terms and conditions of the appointment would depend upon the conditions set out prior to the appointment – all through in the selection process, there was no such stipulation debarring a person with Technical Education through Distance Education mode from applying or participating for being selected for the post. It was only after the third list was issued, that such stipulation came to be inserted in the appointment letter. Such action on behalf of the State does not appear either logical or based on sound rationale and is also against the law with regard to the recruitments.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT PATNA
CORAM: HONOURABLE JUSTICE SMT. ANJANA MISHRA
Date: 20 -05-2016
Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.20837 of 2014
1. Pawan Kumar, aged about 27 years, son of Late Stayanarayan Singh, Resident of village – Sadhwas, P.S. – Dinara, District – Rohtas.
2. Pradeep Kumar, aged about 27 years, son of Kanahaiya Prasad Kharwar, Resident of Village- Bideshi Tola, P.S. – Thawe, District- Gopalganj.
3. Awadhesh Prasad Das, aged about 34 years, son of Late Mahendra Das, Resident of village- Karnawati, P.S. – Mahnar, District- Vaishali.
…. …. Petitioner/s Versus
1. The State of Bihar through the Secretary, Department of Health, Government of Bihar, Patna.
2. The Director-in-Chief, Health Services, Govt. of Bihar, Patna.
3. The Nodal Officer, Para Medical Cell, I.A.S. Association Building, Patna- 14.
4. The Executive Director, State Health Society, Sheikhpura, Patna, Bihar.
5. The Principal, Shree Krishna Medical College, Muzaffarpur.
…. …. Respondent/s
For the Petitioner : Mr. Arup Kumar Chongdar, Advocate For the State : Mr. G.P. Ojha, G.P.-22 For the Health Society : Mr. K.K. Sinha, Advocate
In the present writ application, the petitioners seek quashing of letters dated 24.9.2014, as contained in Annexure 13 Series, whereby and whereunder the petitioners’ joining was refused with retrospective date on the ground that they completed their courses from Distance Education. The petitioners further pray for a direction to the respondents to reinstate them on the post on which they were working before the issuance of the aforesaid letters dated 24.9.2014. A further writ/order/direction has also been sought, commanding the respondents to pay to the petitioners their salary and other consequential benefits from the date of termination from service till the date of reinstatement on the post on which they were working after following the due selection process. They have also prayed for payment of arrears of salary for the working period of eight months i.e., from the date of their joining till the date of their termination.
2. The present writ petitioners were appointed after having followed the due process of selection on the post of Lab. Technician (MLT), for which the educational qualifications had been fixed as Intermediate Science/10+2 or equivalent and a pass in Diploma in MLT from a Government recognized institution. The said fact is evident from the advertisement, vide Memo dated 7.2.2008.
3. Petitioner Nos.1 to 3, namely, Pawan Kumar, Pradeep Kumar and Awadhesh Prasad Das, respectively, have passed Intermediate Science from Bihar School Examination Board in different years. Petitioner Nos.1 and 3 are in possession of a pass Lab. Technician Courses (BMLT) from Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth (Deemed University) (referred henceforth as “JRNR, Vidyapeeth”) whereas Petitioner No.2 has obtained the Lab Technician Course degree from Allahabad Agriculture Institute (now known as “Sam Higgingbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology & Science”), referred as “AAU” (Deemed University). The said degrees were obtained by the petitioners from Distance Education and both the Universities are recognized by the UGC as well as from the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, and are also approved from Distance Education Council, New Delhi.
4. Thus, duly qualified, the petitioners applied for the post of MLT and their applications were duly accepted by the competent authority, namely, respondent No.3. After verification of their qualifications, the petitioners were issued admit cards and they appeared in the written test on 22.2.2009. The results of the aforementioned test were published on 18.8.2009 in the daily newspaper “Dainik Jagran”, in which they were declared successful.
5. The petitioners received individual call letters for appearing in the interview/counselling and after consideration of the original relevant documents, on 9.11.2009, the first lot of results of 185 candidates was declared. Two lists were published by the Directorate of Health; one of 329 candidates on 29.6.2010, which was subsequently revised to 324 candidates on 16.8.2010. By letter dated 29.6.2010, some of the candidates were also posted under various Civil Surgeons/Civil Surgeon Medical College.
There was the third list of 62 candidate, including the petitioners, which was contained in Memo No.1722(4) dated 6.11.2012.
6. A writ application, bearing CWJC No.16227 of 2010, was filed by two candidates having vocational degrees, challenging the aforementioned results. This Court after hearing the parties, vide order dated 22.11.2012, granted stay and directed that no further appointment be made. However, Petitioner No.2 filed an intervention application with a prayer to vacate the stay, which was duly allowed and vide order dated 11.1.2013, this Court vacated the stay granted on 22.11.2012 (Annexure 8 series).
7. After vacation of the order of stay, the Directorate of Health invited the petitioners to appear in the interview, fixing 10.12.2013 and 11.12.2013 and accordingly, the petitioners appeared in the test on their respective dates. The petitioners were then declared successful vide departmental Letter No.21.1.2014 by which 38 candidates, including the petitioners, were declared selected for the post of MLT. The Directorate of Health, Government of Bihar, on 4.7.2014, vide its letter No.561(4) also confirmed the appointments made on 21.4.2014.
8. The trouble of the petitioners arose when a new condition was imposed in letter dated 21.1.2014, wherein, for the first time, in Column 2(J) a new condition was brought in only to disqualify the 38 candidates who had come in and with an intention of debarring them from the selection. In Column `J’ the candidates, who had the qualification from Distance Education, have been disqualified from being eligible for the post of MLT. However, other similarly situated candidates who had applied along with the petitioners as well as the 150 candidates who had been selected from the list dated 16.8.2010 were continued in service. Thus, 38 candidates were discriminated upon by imposing terms which were contrary to the advertisement and their joining was annulled, whereby it implied that their services were terminated and that too without giving them a show cause notice and also without paying them the arrears of salary for the working period, i.e., from January 2014 to September, 2014.
9. It was submitted by the petitioners that after their appointment, the petitioners had given their joining in Shree Krishna Medical College, Muzaffarpur (hereinafter referred to as “SKM College, Muzaffarpur”) on 21.1.2014 and vide letter dated 24.7.2014, the petitioners were called upon to file affidavit regarding their qualifications. The said directive to the petitioners was duly complied with by them, by which they supported their qualifications. The certificates of the petitioners were also sent forth for verification to the Directorate of Distance Education, Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth University and Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (formerly known as Allahabad Agriculture University). Both the Universities had sent their report supporting the degrees and qualifications of BMLT granted in favour of the petitioners by them. The degrees are also recognized by the Distance Education Council, U.G.C., New Delhi and also from the Human Resources Development Department, Government of India and accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
10. Learned counsel for the petitioners further submitted that despite such confirmation by their Institutes, respondent No.5, the Principal, S.K.M. College, Muzaffarpur, vide different letters dated 24.9.2014, terminated the services of the petitioners without affording any opportunity to them to explain the case.
11. The grounds on which the writ petitioners have assailed the impugned orders, contained in Annexure 13 series, are :