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Smt. Usha Rani Vs. State of Haryana and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1984)IILLJ443P& H
AppellantSmt. Usha Rani
RespondentState of Haryana and ors.
Cases ReferredC. Bhatia v. State of Rajasthan
- - 3 was clearly violative of article 14 of the constitution of india more so, when respondent no. all attempts in that regard have miserably failed......employment exchange for the purpose. eight persons applied, inclusive of the petitioner and smt. prem lata, respondent no. 4 and they were interviewed. the government of haryana had issued instructions to the headmasters of schools as to how to assess the relative merit of the candidates for such posts leaving no discretion to them to toy with somebody's iate. the formula of recruitment of teachers is set out in annexure r/1, authenticated by the district education officer, rohtak. in accordance therewith, marks 'were to be assigned to the candidates under various classified heads and the heads relevant for the purposes of the present petition are noted below:masters/ mistresses:6. cultural 1 mark for 1st prize in debatesactivities cultural activities7. experience: 1 mark for every six.....

M.M. Punchhi, J.

1. Cut-throat competition in job seeking the rat race to out-wit each other is singularly patent in this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. It is about between two female teachers vying with each other to get a post of an ad hoc Social Studies teacher in the Government Girls High School, Kosli, Distt. Rohtak.

2. Shorn off unnecessary details the case as put by the petitioner-Usha Rani is this:

In November 1983, there were three posts available in the Government Girls High School, Kosli for Social Study Mistresses. The Acting Headmaster of the School-Roshan Lal, respondent No. 5, had sent a requisition to the Employment Exchange for the purpose. Eight persons applied, inclusive of the petitioner and Smt. Prem Lata, respondent No. 4 and they were interviewed. The Government of Haryana had issued instructions to the Headmasters of Schools as to how to assess the relative merit of the candidates for such posts leaving no discretion to them to toy with somebody's iate. The formula of recruitment of teachers is set out in annexure R/1, authenticated by the District Education Officer, Rohtak. In accordance therewith, marks 'were to be assigned to the candidates under various classified Heads and the Heads relevant for the purposes of the present petition are noted below:

MASTERS/ MISTRESSES:6. Cultural 1 mark for 1st prize in debatesActivities Cultural Activities7. Experience: 1 mark for every six monthsubject to maximum of5 marks.8. Teacher'sson/daughter/wife 2 marks.

The interview held by a Committee consisting of the Acting Headmaster and two senior teachers on November 11,1983 for the purpose gave out result as detailed in annexure P/2. The first and second positions went to others bearing 48V2 and 44 marks, the third position went to Smt. Usha Rani, petitioner, bearing 42V2 marks, the fourth position went to another bearing 42 marks and the fifth position went to Smt. Prem Lata bearing 4OV2 marks. Accordingly, the petitioner was issued a letter on November 12, 1983, annexure P/3, appointing her on ad hoc basis for six months. It seems on November 13, 1983, a complaint was lodged before Shri H.S. Malik, District Education Officer, Rohtak who vide annexure P/5 on November 13, 1983, summoned to his office the Acting Headmaster of the School conveying to him that there were serious complaints against him about the selection of the Social Study Mistresses. In obedience thereof, the Acting Headmaster met the District Education Officer and seemingly explained his position. This was followed by a letter dated November 16, 1983 annexure P/6 insinuating the Acting Headmaster of having ignored the merit of Smt. Prem Lata who deserved 43 marks when computed according to departmental instructions making the appointment of Smt. Usha Rani petitioner totally illegal. It was even insinuated that this revealed a personal interest of the Acting Headmaster in the petitioner. Simultaneously, an order was issued on the same date directing the Acting Headmaster to appoint Smt. Prem Lata-respondent as Mistress and relieve Smt. Usha Rani-petitioner immediately being not standing in merit. The Acting Headmaster sought clarification as to how ha was blamed for being guilty of giving less marks to Smt. Prem Lata. Then vide letter dated November 22, 1983, annexure P/9 the Acting Headmaster pleaded that no certificate was ever produced before the Committee by Smt. Prem Lata to show whether she was a Teacher's wife or that she held the requisite certificate for cultural activities. The explanation of the Acting Headmaster was rendered unsatisfactory by the District Education Officer vide letter annexure P/10 and finally vide order dated November 25, 1983.annexure P/13 he was suspended. The teacher Succeeding him obeyed the order of the District Education Officer, dated November 16, 1983 and thus vide order annexure P/14 dated November 25, 1983, the petitioner was relieved from service and in her place Smt. Prem Lata respondent was put to the job. The aggrieved petitioner has approached this Court lamenting naked favouritism and discrimination and the order of termination being violative of Article 311 of the Constitution. Replies have been filed by the District Education Officer, Smt. Prem Lata respondent and Roshan Lal, suspended teacher and all have tried to justify his/her stand

3. At this stage I must record a few concessions made by the learned Counsel. Though it is alleged by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that Smt. Prem Lata respondent earned the status of being a Teacher's wife surreptitiously by her husband securing an ad hoc appointment near about the time when the petitioner took the appointment, yet he says that for the purpose of this petition, it be taken that Smt. Prem Lata was a teacher's wife and entitled to two marks due to her under Head-8. On the other hand, Mr. U.D. Gour, learned Counsel for Smt. Prem Lata respondent, claiming that she was entitled to one mark on account of cultural activities frankly conceded that her case cannot fall squarely under Head-6, for she had not obtained the first prize for such activities but had only been commended as was plain from annexure R/4. Equally, to the challenge made to the teaching experience of the petitioner being a day short of six months (she having worked from September 1,1981 to February 27,1982 as shown in annexure P/2) and thus not completely for six months disentitling her to claim one mark under Head-7. Mr. Gour concedes that on account of February 28, 1982 being Sunday the teaching experience of the petitioner was of six months entitling her to a mark. On these clear concessions learned Counsel for the parties are agreed that both the candidates, that is, the petitioner and respondent No. 4 were to be held entitled to 42V2 marks each and thus equals as far as the rating goes. They were obviously above the candidate of the 4th position.

4. The point which now arises for consideration is whether any relief be granted to the petitioner? It is true that the appointment of the petitioner had been made by the. Acting Headmaster in the presence of a low rating of respondent No. 4 deserving rectification. It is also true that when rectification was made by the District Education Officer, he over-rated respondent No. 4 and in the process caused displacement of the petitioner from her job. It is further true that he did not give her an opportunity of being heard and just by administrative action had his viewpoint observed by suspending the Acting Headmaster and getting the order carried out by his successor. Now, in view of the aforesaid concessions of the learned Counsel for the parties, the baffling question is - should respondent No. 4 be allowed to stay or should she make way for the petitioner or should none be in the post and the matter left for reconsideration. learned Counsel for the petitioner points out that the petitioner was senior in age on the date of her appointment and as such, would be entitled to the post even by equality of rating. learned Counsel for respondent No,4, however, counters that this principle is applicable to determine inter-se seniority if two persons join two posts the same day and the same is not applicable to the present facts. It appears to me that the argument of the learned Counsel for respondent No. 4 in the peculiar circumstances of the case is not sound because two persons appointed on the same day on different posts may not necessarily have the same rating. Here is a case of total equality between the two candidates and by the sheer quirk of fate, it was the petitioner who received the appointment letter and she was the one who was displaced therefrom in an arbitrary manner without observing the salutary rule of audi alteram partem. Straightaway Article 14 of the Constitution was attracted for there was absence of fair-play and reasonableness. When the rating of respondent No. 4 had been calculated higher keeping apart whether the District Education Officer had the power to do so or not, he was bound to invite the petitioner's attention to it and elicited her viewpoint. The mere fact that she was an ad hoc employee and had no right to the post as such, as contended by the learned Counsel for the respondents, is neither here nor there. Reliance was placed by Mr. Gopi Chand, appearing for the District Education Officer, on Ranjit Singh v. President of India (1971) 2 Serv. LR 561, to contend that since the petitioner had no vested right to the post, she had no right to be heard if the mistake was attempted to be corrected at the government end. That was a case in which an officiating appointment was sought to be disturbed by rectification of a 5 mistake. Here no such situation arises for the ad hoc appointment of six months had been terminated leading to the petitioner being thrown on the road. Thus, I am of the considered opinion that the action of the District Education Officer, 10 respondent No. 3 was clearly violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India more so, 'when respondent No. 4 is concededly not of a rating higher than that of the petitioner. All attempts in that regard have miserably failed. Thus there 15 is no option but to put back the petitioner to her job directing respondent No. 4 to make way for her.

5. Before I conclude the judgment, in fairness to Mr. U.D. Gour, I must notice two decisions of the Supreme Court cited by him being State of Mysore v. P.N. Nanjundiah 1969 Serv. LR 346 and/C. Bhatia v. State of Rajasthan : AIR1973SC2290 ; to contend that even if an irregularity has glaringly emerged, it was not incumbent on this Court to cause interference unless it was a case of manifest injustice. And even then, the matter should be sent to reconsideration and not finally disposed of here. I cannot see any uniform principle of the kind canvassed. It depends on 30 the facts and circumstances of each case. If the conscience of the court is shaken, then obviously, the requisite relief must flow to the petitioner. And the instant case is one such case where the matter need not be left to the authorities giving rise to a fresh bout of litigation, more so, when the facts are patent.

6. For the foregoing reasons, the end result is that this petition is allowed. The impugned orders, annexures P/7 and P/14 are set aside 40 and it is directed that the petitioner be treated to be in service in accordance with her appointment letter, annexure P/3. In the circumstances of the case, however, there shall be no order as to costs.

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