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Court can grant relief to party under Art. 226 even if not mentioned in petition: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court has upheld that the Court can grant relief to a party even if the same is not mentioned in the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution through THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.B.SURESH KUMAR & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE C.S. SUDHA in the case of Smitha MG v State of Kerala (WA NO. 174 OF 2021)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

In this case, the appellant took the Kerala Public Service Commission exam and was allocated third place in the supplementary rank list of candidates from the Vishwakarma community as part of the selection procedure. The fourth respondent was the candidate assigned the second rank in the additional rank list and resigned by letter. The commission rejected the letter and recommended her for employment in a position reported to it.

The appellant filed a Writ Petition challenging this, arguing that because the relinquishment of the fourth respondent’s claim was in accordance with Rule 18 of the Kerala Public Service Commission Rules of Procedure, the commission should have advised the appellant for appointment in place of the fourth respondent.

Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj, acting for the appellant, claimed that the commission lacks a case because the relinquishment letter given by the fourth respondent lacks the required particulars. 

On the other hand, Standing Counsel for the Commission contended that the relinquishment letter does not indicate that the signature of the fourth respondent contained therein was affixed by the fourth respondent herself in the presence of a Gazetted officer. Thus it cannot be said that Rule 18 requirements were met (ii).

JUDGEMENT:

The Court noted that the provisions of Rule 18(ii) make it clear that it is permissible for a candidate whose name has been included in a ranked list to submit a written application giving their full address and signature, duly attested by a Gazetted Office on or before the date of receipt of the requisition for advice based on which they are to be advised, and that if the name of the candidate who has relinquished their claim is removed from the ranked list.

The Court observed that the requisites of Rule 18(ii) for relinquishing her claim had been duly met, which includes her name, address, signature and date. It also contains the signature of a Gazetted officer of the State under his seal. Hence, the said omission on the part of the fourth respondent in affixing her signature in the box provided in the relinquishment letter would remove the same out of the purview of Rule 18(ii).

The Court, however, clarified that if the court deems that a candidate has scrupulously followed the provisions of the Rule, the advantage of the same might be availed of by the applicant next in the order of merit. Thus, the Court held that, while no specific relief was sought in the writ petition in that regard, the writ petition was essentially one challenging the decision rejecting the relinquishment letter, and that the absence of a specific relief sought in the writ petition does not preclude the court from exercising its power under Article 226 of the Constitution to grant a relief to which a party is entitled.

Thus, the Court granted the writ appeal and directed the Commission to recommend the petitioner for employment in the vacancy recommended for the fourth respondent.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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