5 December 2022


Judgments

High Court of Himachal Pradesh

Padam Singh and Ors.Vs. The District and Sessions Judge, Mandi and Ors.

MANU/HP/0370/2020

16.03.2020

Service

Marks given by Interview Committee are not subject to judicial review unless malafides or extraneous considerations are established

In present matter, aggrieved by the selection of the private Respondents No. 3 to 18 as Peon/Orderly/Chowkidar, the Petitioners have fled the instant petition. It is averred that, the entire selection process is vitiated on account of it being unfair, unlawful, arbitrary, illegal resulting in discriminatory appointments.

It is more settled that vague allegations of malafides are not enough to dislodge the burden resting on the person, who makes them. There must be strong and convincing evidence to establish the allegations of malafides specifically and definitely alleged in the petition. The allegations of malafides must inspire confidence in the Court and should be based on concrete material. Such allegations ought not to be entertained on the mere making of them or on considerations borne out on conjectures or surmises.

It is the reasonableness and apprehension of an average honest man that must be taken note of. It is not every suspicion felt by a party which must lead to the conclusion that the authority conducting the selection was either bias or influenced, prejudiced etc. The apprehension must be judged from a healthy, reasonable and average point of view and not on mere apprehension of any whimsical person.

The pleadings in this case are far too vague and unsubstantiated and there is no material to substantiate the allegations of favoritism and nepotism etc. There is no material pleaded in the writ petition that any member of the Interview Board was bias and malafide against the petitioners and, as such, very less marks were awarded to the petitioner(s) in the interview.

It is by now very clear that the allegations of bias are often more easily made than proved and the very seriousness of such allegations demand proof of a high order of credibility. In the absence of necessary particulars of the charge of bias and malafide for making out a prima facie case in the writ petition, the High Court is justified in refusing the investigation into the allegations of malafides.

There is no material placed on record for substantiating the allegations of bias or malafides against the members of the Interview Board. In absence of clear-cut allegations of bias or malafides, this Court would not sit in an appeal against the marks awarded by the Interview Committee, more particularly, when the members happen to be the responsible Judicial Officers. The allegations made in the entire petition are in the realm of mere suspicion having no factual base.

The decision of the Selection Committee can be interfered with only on limited grounds, such as, illegality or patent material irregularity in the constitution of the Committee or its procedure vitiating the selection or proved malafides affecting the selection etc. The Petitioners have already sought and have been duly provided the entire record of selection as was required by them from Respondent No. 1 through the Information Officer on 07.03.2020. Despite this, the Petitioners failed to point out any infirmity or illegality or act of favoritism, bias or malafides etc. in the selection process.

In Vijay Syal and another vs. State of Punjab and others, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that, the marks given by the Interview Committee are not subject to judicial review unless malafides or extraneous considerations are alleged and established.

Additionally, the Petitioners have taken a calculated chance and appeared in the interview with other candidates, then only because the result of the interview is not palatable to them, they cannot now challenge the appointments by pointing out so-called irregularities here and there. Petition dismissed.

Tags : Appointment Malafide Proof

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