JKSSB Recruitment: High Court Stays Selection Process Till Govt Takes Decision On Recruiting Agency’s Allegedly Unfair Conduct
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has dismissed “mere apprehensions” of unfair conduct of the Jammu and Kashmir Service Board (JKSSB) in recruitment but has halted the selection process, till a final decision is taken by the government on the report/recommendations made by the High-Level Committee which was appointed to review the board’s functioning.
At the very outset, the bench observed that the petitioners lacked locus standi (legal standing) to challenge the recruitment process since they participated in the process themselves.
Justice Kazmi added,
“In the instant case, the petitioners have not been able to establish their locus standi to challenge the process being conducted by the respondents for allotment of tender for conduct of various examinations through CBT mode in favour of respondent No. 2. If at all, anyone had any reason to challenge the process of allotment of tender to respondent No. 2, then only the company who has not been selected and allowed tender had a right to challenge the allotment but not the petitioners herein”.
Further highlighting that a company’s blacklisting is not permanent, the bench explained that once the stipulated period of debarment is over, the company can participate in the tendering process again.
“One cannot be blacklisted for life. The order of blacklisting has to be specified for a particular period of time. The debarment is never permanent and the period of debarment would invariably depend upon the nature of offence committed by erring contractor”, the bench maintained.
Addressing the issue of maintainability of the writ petition, the court clarified that the terms and conditions of tender documents fall within the domain of the tender-making authority and should not be subject to judicial scrutiny unless they are arbitrary, discriminatory, or mala fide.
Taking note of the fact that the government had set up a High-Level Review Committee tasked with assessing the conduct of both the JKSSB and the selected agency, M/s Aptech Ltd the court directed the Committee to furnish its report within ten days, followed by a decision from the Chief Secretary based on the report’s recommendations within the subsequent ten days.
“However, till the final decision is taken by the Government, the JKSSB shall not proceed with the selection process”, the bench concluded.
Case Title: Vinkal Sharma and others V/s UT of J&K and others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (JKL) 237