Affidavit cannot be relied on to improve or supplement an order passed by authority: High Court of Delhi

The law is well settled that the validity of an order has to be judged by the reasons stated in the order itself and not by anything else, otherwise, an order bad in the beginning, by the time it comes to the Court on account of a challenge, gets validated by additional grounds later brought out. This was held in BHARATI RATHORE V.  UNION OF INDIA AND ANR [W.P.(C) 5229/2019] in the High Court of Delhi by a single bench consisting of JUSTICE J.R. MIDHA.

The facts are that the petitioner had applied for the post of Examiner of Patents and Designs in the stream of Bio-Medical Engineering. Despite having topped the examination, the Petitioner was deprived of selection by the Respondent. The petitioner has thus challenged the result declared by the respondents. Petitioner is seeking the appointment to the post of Examiner of Patents and Designs and in the alternative, quashing of the entire selection process and the results declared by the respondents.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted acts on the part of the Respondent have been arbitrary and mala fide, who deliberately do not want to appoint the Petitioner despite the fact that she had topped the examination and even after her degree being held equivalent to the required degree of Bio-Medical Engineering by the most renowned institute of India, IIT, Delhi.

The counsel for the respondents has submitted that they have followed and applied the procedure set out in the information memorandum. All the candidates were aware and informed of the process which specifically provided that verification would be done only after the declaration of the results and post the Mains Examination. The candidates were also informed that their application was liable for rejection at the verification stage.

The court made reference to the judgment of Apex court in  Commissioner of Police v. Gordhandas Bhanji., wherein it was held that “…public orders, publicly made, in the exercise of a statutory authority cannot be construed in the light of explanations subsequently given by the officer making the order of what he meant, or of what was in his mind, or what he intended to do. Public orders made by public authorities are meant to have public effect and are intended to affect the actings and conduct of those to whom they are addressed and must be construed objectively with reference to the language used in the order itself “.

The court also made reference to the judgment of the Apex court in East Coast Railway v. Mahadev Appa Rao., wherein it was observed that “There is no quarrel with the well-settled proposition of law that an order passed by a public authority exercising administrative/executive or statutory powers must be judged by the reasons stated in the order or any record or file contemporaneously maintained. It follows that the infirmity arising out of the absence of reasons cannot be cured by the authority passing the order stating such reasons in an affidavit filed before the court where the validity of any such order is under challenge”.

Considering the facts of the case and the legal precedents, the court observed that, the Respondent had not given any reasons for holding the petitioner‘s degree not equivalent to the B.Tech in Bio-Medical Engineering. The validity of the respondent’s decision cannot be supplemented by fresh reasons later on. Thus the Respondent Committee‘s Minutes reflected complete arbitrariness and non-application of mind and therefore were rejected. On the basis of the report of the expert committee referred to by the court, the writ petition was allowed and the petitioner was appointed as an Examiner of Patents and Designs.

Click here to read judgement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *