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The HC cannot go into validity of the rules & record a finding of invalidity - when the rules are not even assailed; SC

Supreme Court of India

Justice R. Subhash Reddy & Justice R. Banumathi

The SC on April 17, 2020 {Dr. Thingujam Achouba Singh & Ors. v. Dr. H. Nabachandra Singh & Ors.} held the High Court has committed, an error in going into the validity of the Rules, in absence of any challenge to the same. It was held that in any event, it was the case of the respondent authorities that the rules governing appointment were amended by following the rules and such amendment was also approved by the competent authority, of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. Further held that, the fact of not notifying the amended rules has also been made basis for grant of relief by the High Court. 

It was held by the SC that it is true that in a public institution, rules are required to be made available, but at the same time not notifying to public at large cannot be the ground to invalidate the notification, in the absence of any provision to that effect in the Bye-Laws of the Society or the Rules and Regulations framed for recruitment to the post of Director.

It was held that so far as relaxation of upper age limit, as sought by the petitioners in one of the writ petitions is concerned, High Court has directed the competent authority and Executive Council of the Society to consider for providing such relaxation clause. It was held by the SC as to how such direction can be given by the High Court for providing a relaxation which is not notified in the advertisement. It was held that while it is open for the employer to notify such criteria for relaxation when sufficient candidates are not available, at the same time nobody can claim such relaxation as a matter of right. It was also held that the eligibility criteria will be within the domain of the employer and no candidate can seek as a matter of right, to provide relaxation clause.

In the present case, by the impugned order, the High Court has quashed advertisement dated 16.08.2016, inviting applications to fill up the vacant post of Director in Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal.

The SC allowed the appeals by upholding advertisement dated 16.08.2016, and set aside the impugned common judgment and order passed by the High Court of Manipur at Imphal. Consequently, the writ petitions filed in HC were dismissed by the SC.

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