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HC clears decks for recruitment of 1444 paramedics for by SSRB

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Dismisses petitions by those engaged on academic arrangement

Srinagar: Upholding the advertisement notice calling for selection of 1444 posts in the Health and Medical Education Department through JKSSRB, the J&K High Court today dismissed a bunch of petitions by certain candidates engaged for the paramedical posts on academic arrangement.

The court cited a judgment by the Supreme Court and directed “we find no merit in these petitions and the same are accordingly dismissed. The interim directions, if any, shall stand vacated. The respondent (J&K Services Selection Board) are free to conclude the selection process initiated vide advertisement Notice No.02 of 2021 (for the posts).”

The petitions were directed against a common judgment dated 15.11.2022 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Srinagar Bench.

The CAT concluded that the respondent government was well within its jurisdiction and competence to issue advertisement notification dated 26.03.2021 to fill up the posts held by the writ petitioners on contractual basis.

The Tribunal had dismissed the petitions of contractual besides vacating the interim orders issued therein vide impugned judgment.

The writ petitioners were engaged as paramedical staff on academic arrangement basis in terms of J&K Medical and Dental Education (Appointment on Academic Arrangement Basis) Rules, 2009 [“2009 Rules”] for a period of one year extendable up to maximum of four years, one year at a time. By subsequent amendment the academic engagement was provided extendable up to six years.

The engaged persons later staked claim for regularization of their services in the respondent-department and filed writ petitions challenging the advertisement notification dated 26.03.2021 for 1444 posts.

The writ petitions were contested by the respondent government agencies. It was pleaded by the respondents that since appointment of the petitioners were purely on academic arrangement under rules, they had no right to continue beyond the period of six years.

Ceding to the request of the writ petitioners and regularizing their services on substantive basis would violate equal opportunity doctrine envisaged under Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution, argued the government attorneys.

Justices M.A.Chowdhary and Sanjeev Kumar concurred with the CAT that the writ petitioners were governed under 2009 Rules, which clearly provide that their engagement was on academic arrangement basis till the selection was made in accordance with the recruitment rules.

The writ petitioners had also executed agreements and contracts with the respondent that they would not claim regularization of their service.

The judges observed “it is not in dispute that the Recruitment Rules governing selection/appointment against the posts held by the writ petitioners provide for making selection through a statutory selection body i.e. J&K SSB. Indisputably, the writ petitioners are not the persons appointed pursuant to their selection made by the J&K SSB after issuing public notification and conducting fair and transparent selection process”.

Their judgment said that while making the selection of petitioners and others, the selection committee envisaged under Rule 6 of the 2009 Rules must have invited applications from the eligible candidates for appointment on academic arrangement basis, which was initially for a period of one year extendable up to maximum of six years.

The judges held that many eligible candidates may not have responded to the notice having regard to the nature of appointment offered by the respondents. Some of them possibly might have been employed somewhere and for a meager amount and temporary/contractual appointees would not be ready to jettison their employment for such appointment, which, for all practical purposes, was temporary in nature and terminable after a maximum period of six years.

“The Recruitment to the posts held by the writ petitioners is required to be made as per the Recruitment Rules in-vogue, which envisages the selection to be made by the J&K SSB after issuing public notification and conducting fair and transparent selection process ensuring equal opportunity to all eligible candidates to apply and participate in the process”, directed the bench while upholding the advertisement notice by SSRB for selection under proper procedure of law.

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