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Courts are concerned with the decision-making process, not just the decision: Supreme Court

While dismissing an appeal, the Supreme Court bench refrained from going into comparing individual merits. The Bench stated that in the matter of judicial reviews, the courts are concerned with the process of decision making and not just the decision itself. This was held by the Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narsimha, in the matter between Sushil Kumar v State of Haryana & Others, decided on January 19, 2022.

The present appeal arose out of a judgment delivered by Punjab & Haryana High Court, passed in the year 2015.The appellant was a Police constable, was positioned as Head Constable under the extent policy and his name was recommended by the SP for promotion in the year 2004. However, his name was dropped down by the IG. After three years, his name was again forwarded and he got promoted in the year 2011. His grievance is that he should have been promoted in 2004 itself, since he was more meritorious than the ones promoted. He has pleaded a retrospective promotion from the year 2004.

The counsels on behalf of the appellant have stated that the IG is not the appellate authority and therefore had no right to drop down a recommendation. The appellant was given no opportunity of hearing and was not given any reason. It was submitted that this decision was solely arbitrary and the candidate was more meritorious than the others.

The respondents submitted that as per the rules of Punjab Police Act, 1934, the promotion is granted by the IG and mere forwarding of names does not give the appellant a right to get promoted. The promotion was solely on the basis of rules and law, and not arbitrary. It is their case, that the other promoted constables were more meritorious.

After observing the facts of the cases, judgement of the high court and the law, the division bench remarked that the competitive environment differs from year to year. The rights to promote lie with the IG and the CDPC, and shall stay with them. The bench stated that it will not compare individual merits since the process of decision making is also of great importance.

The bench dismissed the appeal stating that there was no illegality in the selection process.

Click here to view the judgement

Reviewed by Namisha Choudhary.

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