The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday quashed the process of appointing Secretary to the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages (JKAACL) initiated in March, saying it does not inspire confidence.
A Division Bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar, while setting aside a lower court judgement, quashed an advertisement dated March 1, 2019 after the petitioner Arvinder Singh Amn pointed out that it did not mention the qualification required for the appointment.
The High Court directed that in case the process of selection is to be initiated, the qualifications, experience and other terms and conditions of service, besides the process to be followed for the selection, be prescribed before the advertisement is issued.
Earlier, a lower court on May 28 had dismissed the petition filed by Amn against the advertisement.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed, appearing for the appellant in the High Court, said that no qualification was prescribed and only claims were invited from the interested candidates for one of the senior most posts in the executive cadre in the advertisement issued on March 1, 2019 by the Deputy Secretary, Department of Culture.
Ahmed said the Academy was established in 1963 and there are many posts in different cadres which are governed by the Recruitment Rules framed in the year 2006.
He referred to Clause 8(a) of the Constitution of the Academy which provides that Secretary is to be appointed in consultation with the Government of J&K.
Ahmed said the Recruitment Rules of 2006 do not lay down any qualifications, experience for recruitment to the post of Secretary of the Academy.
Even before the constitution of the search committee, the appointing authority had not laid down any such conditions and the criteria to be followed for the purpose of short-listing of the candidates. In the absence thereof, the process will not inspire confidence, he said.
The Search Committee could be assigned only the job in terms of the mandate given to it. It cannot of its own prescribe the qualifications also. Even in the advertisement issued, no details were mentioned, the appellant's lawyer said.
After hearing the arguments presented by Ahmed and the government side, the Division Bench observed that if the facts of the case are examined in the light of the law laid down by the Supreme Court, the only possible conclusion is that the process adopted does not inspire confidence.
Issuing an advertisement without even laying down eligibility conditions and then asking for further information after receipt of applications, is unknown to law and such a process cannot sustain in the eyes of law, the court ruled.
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