Selection of candidates in excess of advertised vacancies is unconstitutional: Supreme Court

In a recent case, the Supreme Court observed that recruitment of candidates in excess of notified vacancies is a violation of 14 and 16(1) of India’s Constitution. The Bench further observed that authority couldn’t fill up more than the notified number of vacancies advertised and proceeded to set aside the order passed by Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal.

Vide government circular dated 27/06/2016, Maharashtra government notified 828 vacancies for promotion to post of sub-inspector through LDCE 2016. Later, through a government resolution, the Maharashtra government decided to accommodate 636 more candidates who secured more than 230 marks in LDCE 2016 examination.

The decision mentioned above was challenged before the Administrative Tribunal. The Tribunal passed the status quo order but later vacated it. After that, the High Court directed the State to send an additional list of 636 candidates for the training of nine months during pendency of proceedings before the Tribunal.

When the case reached the Supreme Court, the Bench noted that the government resolution in question sought to fill double the vacancy that was notified for LCDE, but as per settled law of jurisprudence, as an authority cannot fill more than the number of seats notified as such an act would violate Article 14 and 16(1) of Indian Constitution.

The Bench opined that Article 320(3)(a) of the Constitution states that the State Public Service Commission or Union Public Service Commission should be consulted on all matters related to recruitment methods for civil posts and civil services.

Hon’ble Court observed that in the instant case, the Maharashtra government issued the impugned GR without the approval of MPSC, and the MPSC expressed its disapproval in a letter as well. According to Bench, Rule 5 of Police Sub-Inspector (Recruitment) Rules, 1995 that deals with such increase, can only be invoked after the government satisfies the Tribunal that required invoking extraordinary circumstances powers conferred under Rule 5.

The Apex Court set aside the order of the High Court and the Tribunal. It ruled that the impugned Government Resolution shall have stayed till the proceedings were pending before the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal.

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