In an unusual case, the legal fight of a man to get appointed as a Deputy Collector, the post for which examinations were held 37 years ago, in Uttar Pradesh came to an end on Tuesday in the Supreme Court which recorded that he has demitted present office in 2019 on attaining the age of superannuation.
The top court allowed the appeal of the Uttar Pradesh government against the 2014 verdict of the Allahabad High Court which had asked it to appoint Chunni Lal, since retired as Deputy Transport Commissioner, as the Deputy Collector.
A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna noted that the now impugned judgement of the High Court was “not capable of being implemented as there is no purpose of now appointing respondent No.1 (Chunni Lal) to the post of Deputy Collector.”
Referring to merits as well, the top court said, “Two persons cannot be directed to be appointed to a single post. Therefore, the impugned judgement and order passed by the High Court deserves to be quashed and set aside.”
As per the history of the case, the selection process for 35 posts of Deputy Collector was initiated by the UP Public Service Commission and examinations were held in 1985.
In the year 1987, the UPPSC sent a requisition for the appointment of selected candidates on the post of Deputy Collector and two posts remained vacant as two candidates did not turn up to join.
This led to a protracted legal fight as the Public Service Commission sent the names of two other candidates namely Digvijay Singh and Chunni Lal for the appointment as Deputy Collector.
In the meanwhile, one Ajay Shankar Pandey moved the High Court and won the case for being appointed as the Deputy Collector in 1989 in the general category, and consequently, the UPPSC withdrew the recommendation made in favour of Chunni Lal, who then knocked the doors of the high court.
Chunni Lal filed the petition against the continuance of Ajay Shankar Pandey and was asked by the high court to give a representation which was rejected by the UPPCS on November 13, 1996.
“By the impugned judgement and order, the High Court has quashed and set aside the order dated November 13, 1996, rejecting the representation of the respondent No.1 herein and has directed the State to reconsider the matter of the respondent No.1 herein,” the verdict said.
The High Court, however, clarified that the appointment of Ajay Shankar Pandey shall not be disturbed in any manner, and against the verdict, the state government came to the top court and got a stay on the judgement.
While deciding the appeal, the top court said, that Chunni Lal, the original writ petitioner, has retired in the post of Deputy Transport Commissioner on August 31, 2019, on attaining the age of superannuation and the order passed by the High Court is not capable of being implemented as there is no purpose of now appointing him.
“Even otherwise on merits also, we are of the opinion that the impugned judgement and order passed by the High Court is unsustainable. The High Court ought not to have or could not have passed an order directing the State to appoint two persons to the single post of Deputy Collector, more particularly, when on the post of Deputy Collector, respondent No.2 – Ajay Shankar Pandey was appointed / or was required to be appointed pursuant to the order passed by the High court…,” it said.
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