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Granting repeated extension beyond permissible limits is illegal: Himachal Pradesh High Court

Granting repeated extension particularly for one person beyond the permissible limits is illegal. The grant of such extension deprives the candidates whose names have appeared in the waiting list for no fault. This assertion was made by the Himachal Pradesh High Court presided by J. Tarlok Singh Chauhan and J. Jyotsna Rewal Dua in the case of Shalini Thakur vs. State of Himachal Pradesh [CWP. No. 2865 of 2020].

In the instant case, offer of appointment was given to 11 candidates of General Category to the post of Veterinary Officer and the petitioner was placed at place second in the waiting list. As many as five candidates made requests for extension in joining time. The father of the petitioner applied for information regarding the extension under the RTI Act and was supplied with an instruction copy which stated that two doctors were granted extension for the second time by the respondent. The first in the waiting list did not appear and the petitioner therefore approached the respondent for appointment. Department of Personnel on having received matter regarding appointment of Veterinary Officer advised respondent to give appointment to the candidate in waiting list, in relaxation of rules. Further, third extension was given to another doctor. The petitioner sent request letter but the respondent rejected the claim for issuance of offer of appointment to the post of Veterinary Officer.

The honorable High Court observed, “The respondents­ state illegally granted repeated extension, that too, beyond the permissible limits to the two doctors thereby depriving the rights for no fault of the candidates including the petitioner whose names were appearing in the waiting list from joining before the panel expired. These candidates had a right of consideration when the appointed candidates did not join and the extension given to these appointed candidates to join was otherwise illegal and contrary to instructions issued by the Government.”

The court further contended that, “we find merit in this petition and the same is allowed by quashing the impugned notification and the respondents are directed to appoint the petitioner as a Veterinary Officer alongwith her seniority. However, taking into consideration the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, the petitioner shall not be entitled to any monetary claims in case the appointment letter in her favour from the aforesaid date is issued on or before 31.01.2021, failing which, the petitioner shall also be entitled even to the arrears alongwith interest at the rate of 12% per annum, which shall be paid at the first instance by the officials respondents and then made recovery from the erring officials.”

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