Mere selection does not create a right to appointment: Bombay High Court

There is no indefeasible right created for appointment to a role in favour of an individual solely on the basis of his/her name appearing on the list of selection of candidates. Such a list is further subjected to the choice made by the appropriate committee based on certain criteria for the final appointment. This was decreed by the two-judge bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice Ravindra V. Ghuge and Hon’ble Justice S.G. Mehare in the case of Rukmini Suryabhan Bele Vs. The State of Maharashtra and Ors. [WRIT PETITION NO.6445 OF 2020] on the 06th of July, 2021 before the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay at Aurangabad.

The brief facts of the case are, an advertisement was published by respondent No.2 on 03.11.2019 declaring the selection process for filling in various posts, including the post of a “Taluka Samuh Sanghatak” (Taluka Group Co-Ordinator) under the National Health Mission in Zilla Parishad, Aurangabad purely on contract basis for 11 months. The petitioner applied for this position. The select list for the post of Taluka Group Co-Ordinator dated 13/07/2020 was published by respondent No.2 showing the petitioner at Sr.No.1 on the strength of her aggregate marks being 70.45. This score included 70% of the final year graduation course marks, which rule was universally made applicable to all the candidates while computing their scores. On 21/07/2020, the petitioner appeared before the competent committee with necessary documents, which was a condition to be fulfilled for verification of all relevant documents before an appointment order could be issued. By the impugned communication dated 20/08/2020, respondent No.2 intimated the petitioner that her final year graduation marks are actually 58.22% as per the mark memo and not 86.36%, which was erroneously recorded while calculating her aggregate score in the selection process. Apparently, on account of the correction made by respondent No.2 in the erroneously calculated aggregate score, the petitioner did not retain serial number 1 in the select list. Aggrieved by this, the petitioner filed the present petition before the Hon’ble Court.

The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that she was not aware about the manner of calculating the aggregate score before preparation of the select list. As she was not aware of the criteria for calculating such aggregate score, her rank at Sr.No.1 in the select list, though based on an incorrect noting of her final year marks as 86.36%, must be retained. She also submits that she was removed from the position since she was a member of the ‘schedule caste’ community. However, the counsel for the respondent argued that the petitioner had not scored 86.36% in her final year graduation and has passed in second class scoring 58.22%. he relied on the affidavit filed in reply by the said authority indicate that the final year graduation marks of the petitioner, while making the data entry, were erroneously recorded as 86.36%. The manner of considering the graduation score was to draw 70% of the Final Year marks scored by a candidate. The said rule was made applicable to all the candidates without an exception.

The learned judge heard the contentions of both the parties and observed that, there was no dispute that the petitioner had never scored 86.36% marks in her final year of graduation and if respondent No.2 has committed a mistake of making a wrong data entry of the said marks, when she had actually scored 58.22%, the said mistake was cured/rectified by respondent No.2 before it became too late. She was not issued with an appointment order by then as the verification of the documents was performed on 21/07/2020 and respondent No.2 realized its mistake in good time. The court further held that, “We do not find that respondent No.2 has unilaterally introduced a new rule only to cause prejudice to the petitioner or a different set of selection criteria was made applicable only to the petitioner by way of an exception. The selection criteria that were followed by respondent No.2 was universally made applicable to all the applicants. There is no allegation of nepotism or bias or prejudice or personal animosity between respondent No.2 and the petitioner.” It dismissed the petition stating that the particular petition was devoid of merit and respondent no.2 had not made any discrimination in the selection process.

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