Decided on January 02,2007

UNION OF INDIA Respondents


Manju Goel, J. - (1.) Admit.
(2.) The petitioner was a contender for the post of Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (referred to as 'Post' hereinafter) of respondent no.3 M/s Petronet LNG Limited. The selection for the post was done by a Search Committee nominated by the Union of India, i.e., respondent no.1. The Search Committee selected respondent no.5 for that post. The petitioner is seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the selection process for the post as well as the appointment of respondent no.5 to the post. He also prays for a fresh selection process without the respondent no.4 being a Member of the Selection Committee as he allegedly vitiated the process by bias.
(3.) Respondent no.3 is a company promoted by four public sector undertakings, namely, GAIL (India) Limited, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. The Articles of Association of the respondent no.3 provides for a selection process for the post of the Managing Director. As per Article 109 of the Articles of Association, the Managing Director has to be selected by a Search Committee and has to be appointed by the Board of Directors. The Search Committee consists of the Chairmen of all the promoters and other persons as may be nominated by them. At the relevant time the Search Committee consisted of CMDs of BPCL, GAIL and ONGC apart from the Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation, Mr.Ashok Chandra as the Independent Chairman of the Search Committee and Mr.Arun Duggal, a Nominee of the Asian Development Bank and Mr.Jacques Deyirmendjian of GDF International. Respondent no.4 was a Member of the Search Committee in his capacity as the CMD of GAIL. In February, 2005 M/s A.F.Ferguson Associates was appointed to search and short-list the candidates for CEO and MD of the respondent no.3. An advertisement was taken out in the Times of India dated 1.6.2005 asking for applications for the post of CEO and MD. The petitioner also applied for the post. At that time the petitioner was the Director with GAIL. He submitted his application for the post of CEO and MD of the respondent no.3. The application was to be forwarded by the respondent no.4. The respondent no.4 declined to forward the application of the petitioner without assigning any reason. The petitioner again submitted a note on 11.6.2005 stating therein that the petitioner is likely to lose a good career opportunity for a higher position and that he had already submitted an advance copy of his application. Respondent no.4 took exception to the advance copy of the application being sent and did not change his mind about forwarding the application of the petitioner. A further note of the petitioner dated 29.6.2005 also did not yield any positive result in his favour. Nonetheless, it appears, the application of the petitioner was considered by M/s A.F.Ferguson Associates and his name appeared amongst the short-list of 9 candidates. On 20.7.2005 M/s A.F.Ferguson Associates issued the interview call letters to the short-listed candidates to appear for an interview before the Search Committee scheduled on 30.7.2005. The petitioner received the call letter for the interview.;

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