Information secured under the RTI Act cannot be the basis for the conclusion: Supreme Court of India

The Appellant has approached the Supreme Court in these appeals by assailing the orders passed by the High Court of Orissa in [WP(C) No.22713/2014]. Where they concluded and produced an order concerning the right to informant act. Mr Sibo Sankar Mishra represented the appellants and Mr   Ashok   Panigrahi represented the respondent in the case. In the Supreme Court of India, this judgement was given by Honorable Mr Justice A.S. Bopanna, J. on the 27th of September 2021 in the case of State of Odisha & Ors. Versus Arati Mohapatra, [Civil Appeal Nos. 5963­5964 OF 2021] arising out of SLP (civil) [Nos.9302­9303/2019].

The following are the brief facts of the case, In the year 1996, there was a recruitment process of primary school teachers that was initiated in government schools in the state of Odisha. Whereby 379 candidates were selected for an appointment, the respondent has secured 114.80 marks in the test and was appointed as an Assistant Teacher in Singiri, with the PayScale of Rs.1080­ and the respondent joined the duty on the 30th of July 1997.

However, the candidates who were rejected for the job approached the State Administrative Tribunal alleging foul play in the selection process. The SAT produced an order on the 24th of January 2001 directing the authorities to make a fresh list of candidates for the Job there was a delay in complying with the order and the Court directed to produce the fresh document within four months. The appellant team was so pursuant they formed a committee on the 8th of September 2006 to prepare a fresh list by re-electing the candidates.

The Counsel for the appellant held that while re-electing the last of the candidate selected in the general category has secured 111.53 marks, whereas near the respondent’s name it was written secured 109.86 marks which is contrasting her original marks and she was terminated from the service in 2006. The others who were terminated due to marks difference or forgery of the documents approached the SAT, where the SAT disposed of the same by stating that since the applicants have filed forged certificates /documents and a vigilance case is pending.

The SAT when they considered the fact that the marks shown in the re-selection list against the name of the respondent contrasting her original marks did not feel the need to interfere in the termination order. The respondent finally approached the High court in a writ petition. The High Court considered the fact that her original marks differed from the marks mentioned in the re-selection list, the division bench directed the appellants to treat the respondent concerning her original marks. Also, to communicate a reasoned order to the respondent in 3 months as to why she was terminated which was obtained by the respondent under the Right to Information Act

The Counsel representing the respondent held that it is not disputed that the respondent was not one of the candidates who was accused of forgery of documents for obtaining the appointment. In justification of the termination of the respondent was that the marks were lesser than the last selected candidate in the general category. the counsel held that the information was reached to her from the official filed under the RIT act and therefore the respondent is entitled to be selected which even the High Court has directed.

The counsel for the appellant contended the order because the High court placed reliance on the first list of candidates than the re-selection list. The counsel for the appellant held that marks obtained by the respondent in the viva voce were 14.40, matriculation of 44.42 marks and 51.04 marks in the competitive test which would add up to 109.86 and not 114.80 marks hence the order given by the High court is not justified.

The Honourable Supreme Court held that “The High Court concluded asking the appellants to consider the original marks merely because it was secured under the Right to information act and held that the decision made by the High Court was not justified and had fallen into error, therefore, the order passed by the High Court cannot be sustained. The orders dated 20.03.2018 and  06.12.2018 passed by the High Court of Orissa in WP(C) No.22713/2014 and ReviewPetition No.230/2018 are set aside. Pending applications, if any, shall stand disposed of.”

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Judgment reviewed by – A. Beryl Sugirtham

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