RATNA MUTUM Vs. COMMISSIONER (ARTS & CULTURE), DIRECTORATE OF ARTS AND CULTURE
HIGH COURT OF MANIPUR
Commissioner (Arts And Culture), Directorate Of Arts And Culture
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KH.NOBIN SINGH,J. -
(1.) Heard Shri T. Momo, learned Advocate appearing for the petitioner; Shri S. Biswajit Meitei, learned Advocate appearing for the private respondent; Shri B.P. Sahu, learned Senior Advocate appearing for the Manipur University and Shri Th. Sukumar, learned Government Advocate appearing for the State respondents.
(2.) In the instant writ petition, the following prayers, in short, have been made by the petitioner:
(a) to issue a writ of quo-warranto declaring that the private respondent No.5 holding the public post of the Guide Lecturer in Manipur State Museum from 16-12-2011 on contract basis and thereafter, from 29-11-2016 on regular basis as illegal, void ab-initio and a nullity in the eyes of law being violative of the provisions of the Education Department, Government of Manipur (Guide Lecturer of Manipur State Museum) Recruitment Rules, 1981;
(b) to issue a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ quashing the impugned agreement dated 16-12-2011 executed between the respondent No.2 and the private respondent No.5 for engagement as the Guide Lecturer in the Department of Arts and Culture, Manipur State Museum;
(c) to quash and set aside the Government order dated 29-11-2016 issued by the respondent No.2 as regards the regularization of the private respondent No.5;
(d) to quash and set aside the corrigendum undated but shown to have been signed by the Registrar, Manipur University on 08-01- 2020;
(e) To issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ directing the respondent No.4, Manipur University not to consider the claim of work experience submitted by the private respondent No.5 during the period from 16-12-2011 till date after the private respondent No.5 being declared as occupying illegally the public post of the Guide Lecturer in the Manipur State Museum.
3.1 According to the petitioner, she had been serving as the Assistant Curator in the Manipur University Museum, Manipur University on contract basis for more than 13 years as on 14-01-2020.
3.2 The Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division), Government of Manipur issued a notification dated 29-09-1981 making a rule called 'the Education Department, Government of Manipur (Guide Lecturer of Manipur State Museum) Recruitment Rules, 1981' (hereinafter referred to as 'the Recruitment Rules, 1981') and in terms of the provisions thereof, the post of the Guide Lecturer is to be filled up by way of direct recruitment subject to the conditions mentioned therein, one of which being the following:
'30 years and below (Upper Age limit is relax able by 5 years for SC/ST candidates and by 10 years for Government Servants who are appointed on regular basis under the Government of Manipur and by 15 years for those Government Servants who belong to SC/ST'.
3.3 The private respondent No.5 was allegedly born on 05-01-1970 as per the certificate of her High School Leaving Certificate Examination issued by the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur and therefore, she had already attained the age of 41 years as on 16-12-2011. In terms of the provisions of the Recruitment Rules, 1981, she was not eligible for appointment to the post of the Guide Lecturer, Manipur State Museum as she had already become age-barred. The private respondent No.5 surreptitiously hatched a pre-planned conspiracy with the State officials to deliberately bypass the mandatory statutory rules as provided in column No.6 of the Recruitment Rules, 1981. The State officials with a view to get personal gains and in an illegal manner, chose to indirectly accommodate the private respondent No.5 to the post of the Guide Lecturer engaging her in the Arts and Culture Department by executing an agreement dated 16- 12-2011 for engagement on contract basis between the Government of Manipur represented by the Director of Arts and Culture and the private respondent No.5 for the period from 16-12-2011 to 29-11-2012. Paragraph No. 6 of the said agreement reads as under:
'6. The 2nd party shall have no rights to claim or shall not make any claim for regular appointment/ absorption on the basis of his/ her engagement for the implementation of the above work (Name of Scheme/ Work). His/her service shall automatically cease immediately at the end of the contract period unless terminated earlier under Clause 10'.
In terms of the said agreement, the private respondent No.5 gave an undertaking that she would not claim any right for regular appointment on the basis of her engagement as the Guide Lecturer on contract basis and that her engagement would automatically cease at the end of the contract period.
3.4 The Director of Arts and Culture, Government of Manipur issued an order dated 29-11-2016 regularizing the service of the private respondent No.5 as the Guide Lecturer, Manipur State Museum contrary to the terms of the said agreement dated 16-12-2011. Thus, the conspiracy hatched by the private respondent No.5 in collusion with the State Government officials succeeded allowing her to occupy the public post of the Guide Lecturer in the Manipur State Museum in the regular capacity. In view of the settled law that what cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly and therefore, the private respondent No.5 could not have been permitted to occupy the public post. Such an act being illegal, she cannot be permitted to legally claim the benefit of her service experience during the said period.
3.5 The Manipur University issued an advertisement dated 03-08- 2017 inviting applications from amongst the eligible candidates for filling up the post of the Curator in the Manipur University and other posts. Both the petitioner and the private respondent No.5 applied for the said post. The last date of submission of application form was extended till 29-06-2019 vide advertisement dated 27-05-2019, although the essential qualifications remained the same. The Manipur University issued a list of eligible candidates for the post of the Curator short-listing 12 applicants for the Interview notifying that the date of interview would be intimated soon. All of a sudden, the Manipur University issued an undated corrigendum allegedly signed on 08-01-2020 notifying that the earlier list of 12 candidates stood superseded and accordingly, Indra Vats and the private respondent No.5 were shortlisted for the Interview to be held on 23-01-2020 at 01:00 pm. The aforesaid corrigendum did not mention any reason as to why the names of 10 applicants including that of the petitioner, had been removed by the Manipur University. ;
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