When a committee that has been formed for a particular purpose, although the purpose is achieved, it can still be a necessary or a proper party if the situation demands. Even if the Committee may not be a necessary party, it is a proper party whose presence would enable the court to completely, effectively and adequately adjudicate upon all matters in dispute. This was held by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan in the case of Dilli Ram Dahal and Another Vs. State of Sikkim and Others [I.A. no. 1 of 2020 in W.P. (C) No. 35 of 2019] on the 28th of July before the Hon’ble High Court of Sikkim.
The brief facts of the case are, Respondent no. 1 and 3 are the State of Sikkim and the Department of Personnel, Administrative Reforms and Training; Respondent no. 2 is the Sikkim Public Service Commission (SPSC); respondents no. 5 and 6 are the Sikkim University and University Grants Commission, respectively; respondents no.7, 8 and 9 are Assistant Professors in various Government Colleges. Respondent no. 4 is the Selection Committee formed to select professors and other lecturers. It is alleged that the Selection Committee have selected candidates who are not qualified and failed to consider the petitioners who have the required qualifications. It is alleged that the Selection Committee have acted against the University Grants Commission’s Acts and Regulations; have not verified and examined the genuineness and authenticity of the articles published of the successful candidates and have violated the provisions of the manual of the Sikkim Public Service Commission. Besides the aforesaid grounds of challenge against the Selection Committee, the petitioners have also alleged in their pleadings that the Selection Committee have committed various other illegalities in the selection process. Furthermore, selected candidates, i.e., respondent no.7, 8 and 9 had not satisfied various requirements and despite that they were selected by the Selection Committee in violation of the applicable rules. It is alleged that the Selection Committee was not constituted in the manner required and it also did not have the nominee of the Vice-Chancellor of the Sikkim University as required. It is alleged that the Selection Committee have not given due weightage to the extra additional qualifications secured by the petitioners and that the selection procedure was not transparent, objective and credible. The selection committee has filed the present application under Order I Rule 10(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for deletion of the Selection Committee as respondent no.4 from the array of parties.
The counsel for the petitioner submits that the Selection Committee was a necessary and a proper party in view of the specific allegations being against them in paragraphs 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 42, 43, 46, 47, 48, as well as various grounds in the writ petition. Furthermore, it is urged that the task of the Selection Committee was not only to conduct the recruitment test and submit the statement of marks, but they were to verify and authenticate the relevant documents submitted by the candidates which was not done. The counsel for the respondents submitted that the task of the Selection Committee was only to conduct recruitment/selection test and submit the statement of marks to the SPSC. It is submitted that on completion of the process the Selection Committee becomes functus officio. It is thus urged that the Selection Committee is neither a necessary party nor a proper party. It was also submitted by the counsel for respondents no. 7,8,9 that the SPSC would be able to effectively answer all the allegations made in the writ petition vis- à-vis the Selection Committee and as none of the reliefs were sought against the Selection Committee, the Selection Committee was neither a necessary party nor a proper party.
The court heard both the parties and observed that The general rule regarding impleadment of parties is that the plaintiff in a suit is the dominus litus. Dominus litus means that the plaintiff is the master of or having dominion over the case. Applying the rule held in Mumbai International Airport (P. Ltd.) vs. Regency Convention Centre and Hotels P. Ltd. (2010) 7 SCC 417, wherein “A “necessary party” is a person who ought to have been joined as a party and in whose absence no effective decree could be passed at all by the court. If a “necessary party” is not impleaded, the suit itself is liable to be dismissed. A “proper party” is a party who, though not a necessary party, is a person whose presence would enable the court to completely, effectively and adequately adjudicate upon all matters in dispute in the suit, though he need not be a person in favour of or against whom the decree is to be made”
Applying this to the present case, the court held that, “The consequence is that the Selection Committee may not be able to alter what they have already done. However, it is completely out of place to argue that therefore Selection Committee is neither a necessary party nor a proper party because the selection process is over. Besides, if the SPCS which created the Selection Committee is answerable so is the Selection Committee. In the given facts judicial discretion may be better exercised in favour of permitting the Selection Committee to reply to the allegations made by the petitioner as the dominus litus then to delete it from the array of parties and deny it the opportunity to do so.” The present application was rejected.