No U-Turn After Selection Process Completed: Meghalaya HC Upholds Appointments

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The court ruled that scrapping the recruitment after the entire process had been completed without affording the recruits any opportunity to be heard, constituted a clear violation of the Principles of Natural Justice

The Meghalaya High Court, in a recent ruling, has upheld appointments made through a rigorous selection process, asserting that no reversal can occur once the selection process is complete.

Justice H.S. Thangkhiew, presiding over the case, held that scrapping the recruitment after completing the entire recruitment process and that too without affording any opportunity of hearing to the recruits, amounted to a “total non-adherence to the Principles of Natural Justice.” The court further directed the North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR), the respondents, to reconsider the appointments of the petitioners for regularisation, subject to the rules outlined in the Service Bye Laws of NECTAR.

The decision comes in response to a series of writ petitions related to appointments made from an advertisement issued by the NECTAR on July 10, 2021.

The petitioners, Rakesh Kumar Sarmah, Simanta Das, Simon Phukan, and Ankit Shrivastava, had applied for various positions advertised by NECTAR and were successful in the screening and selection processes conducted by the authorities concerned. Following this, they received official offer letters and commenced their roles. However, their employment was cancelled by an order issued on October 7, 2022, declaring their appointments null and void.

The petitioners argued that “The respondents, after grant of approval in respect of the appointments cannot now take a U-turn after the entire selection process had been completed,” emphasising that the same was arbitrary and discriminatory treatment.

The defence, on the other hand, contested the plea of the petitioners on the ground that the appointments deviated from recruitment rules as they were made through direct recruitment instead of deputation. They also pointed out procedural irregularities and the absence of the Governing Council Chairman during a crucial meeting as grounds for the decision to annul the recruitment process.

After careful deliberation, the court found that the appointments were made in accordance with approved recruitment rules and procedures. It emphasised the endorsement of approval by the Governing Council and highlighted the absence of any irregularities warranting the cancellation of appointments. The court further stated that “the absence of the Chairman therefore, cannot be a ground to vitiate the recruitment process.”

Consequently, the High Court ruled in favour of the petitioners, setting aside and quashing the order cancelling their appointments.


Cause Title: Rakesh Kumar Sarmah and Others v NECTAR [WP (C) No. 420 of 2022]