Sain Garg Vs. State of Punjab & Ors  INSC 355 (15 November 1990)
Kasliwal, N.M. (J) Kasliwal, N.M. (J) Fathima Beevi, M. (J)
1990 SCR Supl. (3) 108 1991 SCC (1) 662 JT 1990 (4) 704 1990 SCALE (2)1014
and Taxation Inspectors-- Appointment of--Exami- nation-Viva voce--Value and
importance of--Fixing 25 of total marks Whether arbitrary and
excessive--Calling for a large number of candidates--Whether vitiates selec- tion--Quashing
of selection-Desirability of.
filling up 47 posts of Excise and Taxation Inspec- tors in Punjab, the Chairman, Selection Committee
issued an advertisement in newspaper. The advertisement stated that there would
be three written papers in English, Punjabi and General Knowledge of Degree
Standard and would carry 100 marks each. Those who obtain 33% in each paper and
40% in the aggregate were to be called for interview which would carry 100
examination was held and the Selection Committee called more than 1200
candidates for interview. By the time the Selection commenced the vacancies
increased to 54.
of 28 posts or Taxation Inspectors and 26 posts of Excise Inspectors. After the
interview and selection, all the 54 posts were filled, taking into account the reserva-
tions made for Scheduled Caste, Backward class, Ex-service- men, dependents of
freedom fighters etc. The appellants who were unsuccessful in the interview
filed a Writ Petition in the High Court challenging the procedure adopted by the
Selection Committee. The High Court dismissed the Writ Petitions following two
Judgments of its Full Bench, v. iz., Joginaer Singh v. State of Haryana, AIR 1966 Punjab & Har- yana
339 and Vikram Singh & Ors. v. The Subordinate Services Selection Board, Haryana
& Ors'., AIR 1988 Punjab & Haryana 299. The appellants have preferred
the appeals by special leave, against the Judgment of the High Court. The Writ
Petitioners have approached this Court direct challenging the selection made.
appellants and the petitioners contended that since the Selection Committee had
called 1200 candidates for interview for only 54 posts, it gave the power of arbitrari-
ness for selection of the candidates. It was impossible to carry out a
satisfactory viva voce list if such a large 109 number of candidates were
called for interview. The inter- view was not only casual but also superficial
and stoppy and the assessment made at such interviews can never reflect the
true measure of the personality of the candidates. It was also contended that
keeping 100 marks for interview, that is 25 per cent of the total marks, gave
arbitrary powers to the Selection Committee, and hence violative of Article 14
of the Constitution.
behalf of the respondents it.was contended that the Writ Petitions and appeals
were not maintainable since all the respondents in the High Court were not impleaded;
that since the selected candidates have already joined the posts such
appointments may not be quashed. It was further con- tended that the observations
made in Ashok Kumar Yadav's case have no relevance to the present cases since
the selec- tion was made by Departmental Selection Committee and not by Public
Service Commission; that all the candidates who had qualified in the written
examination had to be called for interview irrespective of the number; that
marks were award- ed by the members of selection Committee who were experts,
solely on the basis of the response of candidates and that no excessive marks
were awarded to any candidate.
the Writ Petitions and one appeal and allow- ing the other appeals, this Court,
1.1. Ashok Kumar Yadavs case was decided in 1985 and there is no reason why the
State of Punjab did not follow the same for making
selections in 1989 for the posts of Excise and Taxation Inspectors. It is no
doubt correct that the selection of Taxation and Excise Inspectors is done by a
Subordinate Selection body and not by Public Service Commission yet no valid
reason has been given as to why that principle should not be applied in these
cases as well. Even if the said principle may not in terms apply in these cases
to the extent of laying down 12.5% of the total marks for viva voce test which
was made applicable for selections to be made by V.P.S.C., the percentage of viva
voce test in the present cases at 25% of the total marks is arbitrary and
excessive. There could be no gain saying that viva voce test cannot be totally
dispensed with, but taking note of the situation and conditions prevailing in
our country, it would not be reasonable to have the percentage of viva voce
marks more than 15 per cent of the total marks in the selection of candidates
fresh from college/school for public employment by direct recruitment where the
rules provided for a compos- ite process of selection---namely, written
examination and interview. [133G-H; 134A-C] 110
It would be doing injustice to such candidates, who have already been selected
and have joined the posts, to quash their selections even if it is held that 25
per cent marks for viva voce test were excessively high. [134D-E]
Though it was not proper for the Selection Commit- tee to have called as much
as 1200 candidates for selection of 54 posts, the selection cannot be vitiated
merely on this ground as such action is not tainted by any mala fide or oblique
motive. The respondents also stated that they had called all the eligible
candidates as the same practice was followed since 1970 and according to the
rules all such candidates had qualified in the written examination, and had to
be called for interview.
Kumar Yadav and Ors. etc. etc. v. State of Haryana etc. v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.,  2 SCR 430;
Miss Nishi Maghu and Ors. v. State of J
& K & Ors.,  4 SCC 95; Ajay Hasia & Ors. v. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi
and Ors.,  1 SCC 722; Koshal Kumar Gupta & Ors. v. State of J & K and Ors.,  3 SCR 407, relied on.
of U.P. v. Rafiquddin and Ors., 
Supp. SCC 401; Mahmood Alam Tariq and Ors. v. State of Rajasthan & Ors.,  3 SCC 241; distinguished.
v. State of Rajasthan & Ors.,  4 SCC 159, referred to.
Even if the entire selection is quashed and a direc- tion given to hold the
viva voce test afresh by reducing the percentage of marks, it would be a futile
exercise so far as the two Writ Petitioners are concerned, as they stood no
chance of being selected even remotely. According to Ashok Kumar Yadav's case
candidates should be called only three times the number of seats available for
appointment. If that criteria was applied then the two Writ Petitioners had
absolutely no chance of being called for interview for the one post of Taxation
Inspector in the category of backward class. [135C-E].
Kumar Yadav and Ors. etc. etc. v. State of Haryana & Ors. etc. etc.  Suppl. SCR 657, referred to.