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Supreme Court Rules on Filling Vacancies Arising from Resignations in Selection Process

The Supreme Court has ruled on filling vacancies arising from resignations in selection process.

On September 21, 2023, the Supreme Court of India delivered a significant ruling regarding the appointment of candidates in cases where a selected candidate joins and subsequently resigns from their position. The Court emphasized the necessity of conducting a fresh selection process to fill the resulting vacancy, rather than appointing from the previous merit list. This ruling stemmed from a specific case involving direct recruitment to the Haryana Superior Judicial Service and raised crucial questions about the rights of candidates who have successfully qualified in a selection process.

Here is a breakdown of the key points and details of this ruling:

The Supreme Court’s Decision:

The Court ruled that when a selected candidate joins and subsequently resigns, it creates a new vacancy.

This new vacancy must be filled through a fresh selection process rather than appointing from the previous merit list.

Qualifying in the selection process does not grant an absolute right to appointment.

Background of the Case:

The case involved direct recruitment to the Haryana Superior Judicial Service based on a 2007 notification.

Fourteen general category positions were advertised for direct recruitment.

The appellant, despite qualifying, was not appointed as one of the first 13 candidates were appointed in order of merit.

Appellant’s Argument:

The appellant argued that while selection does not guarantee appointment, their right to appointment should not be denied arbitrarily.

Respondents’ Defense:

The respondents contended that they did not act arbitrarily in denying the appellant’s appointment.

Initially, 14 general category vacancies were advertised, but 5 seats were filled by Fast Track Court judges as per certain directions.

Later, 20 fresh vacancies emerged, and only the first 13 candidates in the merit list could be appointed directly from the Bar.

Supreme Court’s Verdict:

  • The Court found that the respondents had not acted arbitrarily and refused to interfere with the High Court’s decision.
  • It concluded that the appointments were justified and fair.

Handling Resignations:

  • The appellant argued that vacancies created by resignations should be filled by adjusting existing appointments.
  • The Court rejected this argument, emphasizing the need for a fresh selection process when a selected candidate resigns.

Consideration of Time:

  • The Court noted that the selection process had been initiated in 2007, and 16 years had passed.
  • It deemed it unjust to keep the selection process open for such an extended period and declined to direct any appointment based on an old selection process.

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