CAT takes serious note of SSB’s negligence, imposes Rs 25,000 cost on erring official

Applicant deprived of right to appointment for over 6 yrs

*Directions passed for issuance of appointment order

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, May 7: Shocking it may sound but it is a fact that an applicant has remained deprived of his legitimate right to be appointed as Government servant for more than six years mainly because of ‘negligence’ and ‘irresponsible behavior’ of Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board (SSB) and taking serious note of this, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Jammu has imposed cost of Rs 25,000 on the erring official of the Board.
Moreover, the Tribunal has directed the Board to declare the result of the applicant and make recommendation to the Commissioner Secretary to the Government, Revenue Department for issuance of appointment letter to the applicant.

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Vide Notice No.6 of 2015 dated September 1, 2015 posts of Patwaris for Jammu District were advertised and the applicant Kushal Dev Singh of Akhnoor being eligible submitted his candidature through online which was successful and submission form along with challan was generated. Thereafter, the applicant deposited Rs 400 against proper receipt in favour of Service Selection Board through Akhnoor Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Bank.
However, when admit card was not issued by the Service Selection Board (SSB) on the ground that they have not received the prescribed fee from the applicant, the applicant approached the High Court of J&K Vide SWP No. 283 of 2018 and the High Court Vide order dated 21.02.2018 allowed the applicant to appear in the examination for the post of Patwari in terms of Advertisement Notice No. 6 of 2015, item No. 506, however, it was ordered that the result of the applicant shall not be declared till further orders.
The notice was also issued to the respondent State on 21.02.2018 to file the reply. However, despite various opportunities given by the court at different times, reply was not filed and then the case was transferred to CAT on 24.08.2020.
Vide order dated 16.04.2024, CAT Jammu Bench directed Service Selection Board to produce the result and in compliance to order, the result was produced on 23.04.2024. After perusal of the result, it was found that the applicant was among the selected candidates. The Manager of J&K Bank, Akhnoor-Branch was also present physically before the CAT and he filed the compliance report admitting that he received challan of Rs 400 as examination fee from the candidate and same was deposited in the account of SSRB vide Transaction No. 1506500003395 dated 30.09.2015.
After hearing counsel for the applicant and Deputy Advocate General, the Member (J) of CAT Jammu Rajinder Singh Dogra observed, “the controversy is over examination fee which was deposited by the applicant well before time and it was transferred in the account of the Service Selection Board by the Bank also well in time so, he should not be punished for his no omission or commission”.
“It is the fault of Service Selection Board, which despite receiving the examination fee, harassed the applicant by not issuing the admit card to appear in the examination for which he was compelled to go to the High Court to get the direction for appearing in the examination. Now, the applicant has been selected and the controversy regarding examination fee is over”, the CAT said.
Stating that applicant was harassed for more than six years and was deprived of his legitimate right to be appointed as Patwari along with other successful candidates who were selected six years ago by virtue of the same advertisement, the CAT said, “unfortunately, the applicant was deprived due to the negligence of the Dealing Assistant/Clerk of Service Selection Board who has not noticed the fee of the applicant which was duly paid and also deposited well in time in their account and still they denied to issue the admit card to the applicant to appear in the examination”.
“Even when the petitioner was selected, neither did they bother to verify whether the fee has been received or not, nor did they file the reply in this petition and the legitimate right of the petitioner was denied and he was not given the appointment along with other candidates, therefore the applicant was compelled to approach the High Court”, the CAT said, adding “with the efflux of time which extended up to more than six years, the applicant suffered mental harassment and agony and incurred huge financial losses on account of salary which he would otherwise had earned, if appointed”.
“The applicant has also suffered a loss of seniority which he would have otherwise gained, if appointed timely, along with other candidates. But unfortunately, he was dragged in the litigation and was compelled to approach the High Court with a hope to get justice”, the Tribunal said, adding “this is a fit case where a heavy cost should be burdened upon the Service Selection Board for sheer negligence and irresponsible behavior to the tune of Rs 25,000 which should be paid to the aggrieved petitioner”.
The CAT has made it clear that amount should not be taken from the Government money because the public exchequer cannot be burdened for the omission and commission of the Dealing Assistant/Clerk. “So, the amount shall be recovered from the salary bills/pension (in case retired) of the erring official who was dealing this matter at that time”, the Tribunal said.
Accordingly, CAT directed the Service Selection Board to declare the result of the applicant against the advertisement Vide Notice No. 6 of 2015 dated 01.09.2015 under Item No. 506 for the post of Patwari, Jammu District and make recommendation to the Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Revenue Department within a period of four weeks from today.
“The Commissioner Secretary shall issue the appointment letter to the applicant within a period of two weeks thereafter”, read the order of CAT.

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