Once selection process stands vitiated due to fraud, candidature of alternate applicant cannot be considered within same process: Supreme Court

  • Aishwarya Iyer
  • 03:42 PM, 11 May 2022

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that once the entire selection process is found to be vitiated due to fraud, collusion and manipulation, an order is to be passed for a fresh selection after following the due process of selection as required.

The bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna further clarified that a court cannot consider the case of another candidate within the same selection process.

In the instant case, Ilyas Ahmed Patwegar – original writ petitioner applied for the post of Urdu Teacher in Nehru Arts, Science and Commerce Degree College, Hubli, run by Anjuman-E-Islam Education Board.

He was appointed on July 1, 2002. Later, an advertisement was published in the local newspaper on August 26, 2007 calling for the filling up of posts of Urdu Lecturers in the same College and he also submitted his application.

In March 2009 the Management informed Patwegar that one Reshma Sultana had been appointed as Urdu Lecturer. The management sought approval for her appointment from the Commissioner of Collegiate Education (CCE). In turn, CCE sought management’s explanation as to how Sultana could have been appointed without seeking the opinion of a subject expert. However, in January 2010, CCE approved the appointment.

Patwegar then approached Karnataka High Court, which set aside Sultana's appointment and directed the management to consider Patwegar's application. Sultana in turn approached the high court division bench which confirmed the order of the single bench. 

Before the Top Court, the short question that arose for consideration was whether after holding the appointment of Sultana to be not valid, the High Court could have thereafter directed for appointment of Patwegar, who was neither recommended by the Committee nor approved by the competent authority for the selection in pursuance of 2007 recruitment.

It was found that Single Judge, on appreciation of entire material on record, had specifically found that the entire selection process was vitiated by fraud and there was a manipulation of the record and no resolution, on the basis of which Sultana was appointed was in existence and there was an interpolation.

The Top Court said, "Single judge could not have further passed an order directing to forward necessary documents and proposals to the concerned authorities for the purpose of appointing Patwegar as a full-time Lecturer in Urdu subject."

"Once the entire selection process was found to be vitiated due to fraud, collusion and manipulation, thereafter the learned Single judge ought to have passed the order for a fresh selection after following the due process of selection as required. It is to be noted that the original writ petitioner is also seeking appointment pursuant to the very selection process/recruitment process which is found to be fraudulent and suffers from manipulation of record....", observed the bench.

Thus, while allowing the appeal partly, the court ordered, "A fresh selection process be initiated for filling up the post of Urdu Lecturer after following due process as required and the same shall be monitored and supervised by respondent No.2 herein - Commissioner of Collegiate Education and this exercise be completed preferably within a period of three months from today.

Case Title: Reshma Sultana vs The State of Karnataka & Ors.