Singh & Ors Vs. State of Punjab & Ors  INSC 239 (17 September 1991)
K. Ramaswamy, K. Punchhi, M.M.
1991 AIR 2248 1991 SCR Supl. (1) 152 1991 SCC (4) 555 JT 1991 (4) 154 1991
Punjab Revenue Patwari Class III Service Rules, 1963: Rules 2(a),4(1),7:
Notification dated 26.8.1986---Patwaris--ad-hoc appointments --Direction by
Court to appoint regular Patwaris within stipulated period--Service Selection
Board not in existence--Constitu- tion of District Committees--Nomination of
members by virtue of their offices---Transfer of member before
selection---Successor in office participated in selection- Selections made on
the basis of viva voce only--Validity of.
writ petition decided by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, it allowed the
ad-hoc appointments made by the Government of Punjab to the posts of Patwaris,
to continue for six months from the date of the judgment and directed the
Government to make regular appointment of Patwaris within that period. Since
the Service Selection Board, Punjab was not
constituted at the relevant time, the Govern- ment of Punjab by a Notification dated 26.8.86
amended Rule 2(a) of the Punjab Revenue Patwari Class III Services Rules, 1963,
and empowered the State Government to authorise "other authorities"
to make recruitment to the service. According- ly, the Government constituted a
selection committee for each district. The District Committee of Patiala
consisted of the Dy. Commissioner, Patiala as Chairman, and District Revenue Officer, the District Sainik Welfare
Officer and the District Social Welfare Officer (Scheduled Caste) as its
Members. The pending names of the candidates before the Service Selection Board
were sent to the Committee for selection. The District Collector also invited
applications from children affected by the riots at Delhi, terrorists affected families in Punjab and the like special categories.
date of the interview the District Revenue Officer was transferred and his
successor participated in the Selec- tion.
selections were challenged by unsuccessful candi- dates in several writ
petitions which were dismissed by the High Court. Aggrieved the petitioners
filed appeals before this Court by special leave.
was contended on behalf of the appellants that the selection was bad because:
the Committee was not properly constituted; the District Collector was not
competent to invite applications afresh; written test was abandoned and only
oral interviews were conducted; no proper opportunity was given to appellants
in the interview inasmuch as 821 candidates were interviewed in 15 hours. It
was also prayed that since the appellants had meanwhile become overage, the
Government should be directed to relax their age and to give appointments to
the appeals, this Courts,
1.1 On the transfer of the member having been nominated by virtue of his
office, the incumbent in office was entitled to participate in the selection of
the candi- dates. The committee constituted was properly composed of the
representatives enumerated therein, and the selection of the candidates,
therefore, was legal and valid. [pp. 155 F- G; 156-A]
Although the representation of the Scheduled Castes need be by an officer
belonging to Scheduled Caste, and the District Social Welfare Officer
(Scheduled Caste), as re- quired should be an officer belonging to the members
of the Scheduled Castes, yet it is not uncommon that the Social Welfare Officer
may be an officer other than one from the Scheduled Castes. [p. 155 G,H]
applications from candidates are invited and they are called for interview
though under a mistaken compliance on wrong impression, the selection of the
candidates, so applying, does not become illegal. [p. 156 D]
Normally it may be desirable to conduct written test and in particular
hand-writing that which is vital for a Patwari whose primary duty is to record
clearly entries in revenue records followed by oral interview. The rules did
not mandate to have both. Options were given either to conduct written test or
viva voce or both and the committee adopted viva voce as a method to select the
candidates which could not be said to be illegal. [p.157 D-E]
an average three minutes were spent for each candidate for selection. Keeping
in view the facts that educational qualifications were apparent from the
record, the candidates normally hailing from rural background had presumptively
good knowledge of rural economy and 154 culture, under the circumstances, much
time need not be spent on each candidate for selection except asking some
questions on general knowledge and aptitude for work as Patwari etc. [p. 157
B-D] Ashok Yadav v. State of Haryana,  Suppl. 1 SCR 657,
appellants had taken the chance for selection and they were not selected on the
basis of comparative merits.
because they were carrying on the litigation, there could not be any
justification to give direction to the Government to consider their cases by
relaxing the age qualification for appointment as Patwari. [157 F-G]
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal Nos.3033-34 of 1989.
the Judgment and Order dated 28.2.1989 of the Punjab Haryana High Court in
C.W.P. No. 7209 of 1987 (in L.P.A. No. 748/87) and C.W.P. No. 7607 of 1987.
Leave Petition (C) Nos. 4483-4485 of 1989.
R.D.Upadhyaya, Ashok Sharma, Nabhyawala, D.S. Tewatia and Ms. Madhu for the
Rana and N.S. Das Behl (for the State) for the re- spondents.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by K RAMASWAMY, J. Leave granted in Special
leave Petitions and heard alongwith the appeals.
questions of facts and law arise in the appeals and hence are disposed of by a
common judgment. It is not necessary to restate the facts, preceding the
decision of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in Gurjit Singh & Ors. v.
State of Punjab & Ors. (WP No. 2374 of 1985).
Suffice to state that the High Court in the said judgment, while allow- ing the
ad-hoc appointments made by the Government of Punjab to the posts of Patwaris
under the Punjab Revenue Patwari Class II1 Service Rules, 1963, for short 'the
Rules' to continue for six months, directed the State Government to make
regular appointments in accordance with the rules within the said period from
the date of the judgment or else the ad-hoc arrangement would lapse. Pursuant
thereto, since the Service Selection 155 Board, Punjab was not constituted, the
Government of Punjab by a notification dated August 26, 1986 amended rule 2(a)
and empowered the State Govt. to authorise "other authori- ties" to
make recruitment to the service. Accordingly the Govt. constituted a Committee
for each District, by proceed- ing dated May 27, 1986 to make selection. For the District
Committee of Patiala, the Dy. Commissioner, Patiala was the Chairman, the District Revenue Officer, Patiala, District Sainik Welfare Officer
and District 'Social Welfare Officer (Scheduled Caste) were nominated as
members of the Commit- tee. to the pending names of the candidates before the
S.S. Board were sent to the Committee for selection. The Dis- trict Collector
invited applications' from special catego- ries, namely, children effected by
the riots at Delhi, terrorists effected families in Punjab, etc. and issued
call letters to 1210 candidates for interview. By the date of the interview Shri
Piara Singh, the District Revenue Officer was transferred and his successor had
participated in the selec- tion. Out of 821 candidates appearing for interview,
189 candidates were selected; the list was prepared in their order of merit;
and the Distt. Collector appointed 146 candidates and sent them for Patwari
training and on their completion of it in a period of one year, they were
appoint- ed as Patwaris on probation. The selections were challenged by
unsuccessful candidates in several writ petitions and by judgment dated February 28, 1989, the High Court dismissed the L.P.
Appeal and the Writ Petitions. On leave under Article 136, the appeals arise
from that batch.
first contention of the appellants that the Commit- tee was not properly
constituted and, therefore, the selec- tion of the candidates are invalid has
no force. Under rule 4(1) of the rules, as per amended rule 2(a) the authority authorised
by the Govt. is entitled to make recruitment to the service of Patwaris. The
Committee constituted consists of Dy. Commissioner as Chairman, the District
Revenue Offi- cer, Patiala, District Sainik Welfare Officer
and District Social Welfare Officer (S.C.) as members. Undoubtedly, at the time
when the Committee was constituted, Piara Singh was the District Revenue
Officer. On his transfer, his successor had participated in the selection. We
have seen the notifi- cation. The Distt. Revenue Officer, Patiala was nominated in official capacity.
Therefore, the member having been nomi- nated by virtue of his office, the
incumbent in office was, therefore, entitled to participate in the selection of
the candidates. It is true that the representation of the sched- uled castes
need be by an officer belonging to Scheduled Caste. The District Social Welfare
Officer (Scheduled Caste) as required should be an officer belonging to the
members of the scheduled caste. It is not uncommon that the Social Welfare
Officer may be an officer other than one from the scheduled castes. But here in
this case it is not the contention that the 156 District Social Welfare Officer
was not a scheduled caste officer representing the scheduled castes. Therefore,
we find that the committee constituted was properly composed of the
representatives enumerated therein. The composition of the committee and the
selection of the candidates, there- fore, are legal and valid.
next contended that the District Collector was not competent to invite
applications afresh and selection of the candidates from out of those
applicants is illegal. It is true that he is bound by the instructions issued
by the Government in Annexure 'D' wherein it was stated that since the number
of applicants are quite large in number, it would not be necessary to solicit
candidate afresh from Employment Exchange or through public advertisement. But
in paragraph 4 therein it was stated that priority categories listed in the
proceeding dated April 24, 1986 will have to be given prece- dence over
candidates from all other sources other than the regularisation of the existing
ad-hoc Patwaris. It had given room to the District Collector to invite
applications from those categories. Though it was a mistaken compliance on
wrong impression, the selection of the candidates, so apply- ing does not
become illegal. It was next contended that.
of calling the applications by publication in the newspapers, only notice was
put on the Notice Board of the Collector's office and some candidates submitted
their applications in pursuance thereof and that is not a proper notification.
Though we find that the procedure adopted by the Collector, in inviting
applications is not ommendable, but the grievance would be voiced only by the
persons who did not have the opportunity to make applications within the
prescribed period. But no such grievance could be raised by persons like the
appellants. Under those circumstances, the procedure adopted, though irregular,
does not vitiate the selection of candidates, ultimately made by the Committee.
next sought to raise a contention that none of the candidates from the priority
categories were selected and this was used only as a lever to invite
applications from the candidates other than those, some of which were ulti- mately
selected and it is irregular. We find no substance in it. That apart it is a
factual position to be investigated and that no such plea was raised nor argued
in the High Court. Therefore, we cannot permit the appellants to raise this
contention for the first time in this Court.
next contended that there was no proper opportuni- ty given to the appellants
in the interview. Only 15 hours were spent to interview 821 candidates and the
selection, therefore, is a farce. This contention also was not raised before
the High Court, but raised in these appeals for the first time. In the counter
filed in this court, it was refuted. It was stated that they had spent 35 hours
in total at the rate of 7 hours per day. That 157 means they spent 5 days in
selecting the candidates. The selection is for the Patwaris in the Class III
service. The ratio in Ashok Yadav v. State of Haryana,  Suppl. 1 SCR 657 has no application to the facts in
this case. There- in the selection was to the Class I service of the State
service and sufficient time was required to interview each candidate. In this
case, on calculation, we found that on an average three minutes were spent for
each candidate for selection. Rule 7 of the rules provides the qualifications,
namely, pass in the Matriculation or Higher Secondary Exami- nation; knowledge
in Hindi and Punjabi upto the Middle Standard and good knowledge of rural
economy and culture.
educational qualifications are apparent from record and need no interview in
this regard. It could be seen that candidates normally hailing from rural
backgrounds had presumptively good knowledge of rural economy and culture.
there is no need for special emphasis to ascer- tain their knowledge of the
rural economy or culture. Under those circumstances much time need not be spent
on each candidate for selection except asking some questions on general
knowledge and aptitude for work as Patwari etc.
then contended that the written test, conducted by the previous Service
Selection Board, was abandoned and only oral interviews were conducted. The
selection, therefore, is illegal. Normally it may be desirable to conduct
written test and in particular hand writing that which is vital for a Patwari
whose primary duty is to record clearly entries in revenue records followed by
oral interview. The rules do not mandate to have both. Options were given
either to conduct written test or viva voce or both. In this case the Commit-
tee adopted for viva voca as a method to select the candi- dates which cannot
be said to be illegal.
next contended that the appellants have now become over-aged and that they are
22 in all. Therefore, direc- tions may be given to the Government to relax
their age qualification and given appointments to them. We find no
justification to give such a direction. Admittedly, the appellants have taken
the chance for selection and they were not selected on the basis of comparative
merits. Therefore, merely because appellants are carrying on the litigation,
there cannot be any justification to give direction to the Govt. to consider
their cases by relaxing the age qualifica- tion for appointment as Patwari. It
is not in dispute that hundreds of candidates who could not be selected would
in that event seek similar relief. Under these circumstances we do not find any
cause to add to the selection and appoint- ment of the candidates as Patwaris.
The High Court, though for different reasons, has rightly dismissed the writ peti-
tions. The appeals are accordingly dismissed, but without costs.