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Supreme Court Leaves Law Unresolved If PIL Is not at all Maintainable in Service Matters

Title: Pratap Singh Bist v. The Director, Directorate of Education, Govt. of NCT Delhi & Ors.

Decided on: 03 November, 2023

+ Diary No. 41779/2023

CORAM: Hon’ble Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Datta


Recently, the Supreme Court expressed skepticism about the Delhi High Court’s ruling that a PIL is “not at all” maintainable in Service Matters, referring to the matter as a “debatable issue” and hearing an appeal stemming from it. As a result, the Court has left the matter open, and the proper case will decide this.

Facts of the Case

In this instance, a writ petition contesting the appointments of respondents (no. 5 to 17) to the position of teacher was brought in 2017 as a Public Interest Litigation by one Pratap Singh Bist (Petitioner). These appointments were made in 2008 through the New Delhi-based Directorate of Education. They were accused of lacking the necessary credentials to be employed as teachers. Nonetheless, the Delhi High Court declined to intervene in relation to these contested nominations in its contested ruling. After reviewing the respondent’s comprehensive affidavit, the court determined that the necessary qualification was there. It was decided that the respondents, who ranged from 5 to 17, qualify for the position.

Courts analysis and decision

The respondent numbers five through seventeen have already served for nearly fifteen years, the highest court emphasized. Based on this forecast, the Court declined to intervene in the nomination process. It did, however, have concerns about PIL’s unmaintainability in terms of service issues. The court went on to say that, in light of this Court’s ruling in Dr. Duryodhan Sahu and Others vs. Jintendra Kumar Mishra and Others, (1998) 7 SCC 273, the second reason given by the High Court—that “PIL is not at all maintainable in service matters”—is a contentious matter that should be investigated further in a suitable case.

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Written by- Hargunn Kaur Makhija

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