Decided on October 01,1999



- (1.) These Letters Patent Appeals, directed against the judgment dated 21.05.1999 passed in a batch of writ petitions involving common questions of facts and law, are being disposed of by this common order.
(2.) Respondent No. 3 invited applications under Advertisement Notice No. 1/97 dated 27.05.1998 for selection of candidates to fill up Class IV posts in Agriculture Department in Udhampur district. Pursuant to that notification, 3537 applications were received. A selection committee was constituted by the Director (R-3) for selection of candidates and interviews were held by the said committee on 6th, 7th & 8th June, 1998. Accordingly appointment orders of 32 candidates - the appellants - were issued on 30.6.1998 by respondent No. 3, on the date of his demitting the office on account of retirement. Complaints were received by the Government with regard to the unfair selection. The successor Director of Agriculture kept the orders of appointment in abeyance by an order dated 4.7.1998. The Government on consideration of the complaint against the selection, rescinded the appointments by order dated 8.7.1998 which reads as under : "Subject : Appointment of candidates on Class-IV posts. .................................. Government Order No. 308-Agri of 1998 Dated 8.7.1998 Whereas it has come to the knowledge of the Government that Shri Jarnail Singh the then Director, Agriculture, Jammu, has appointed 32 persons as Class IV employees in the Department of Agriculture Jammu on 30.6.1998, the day when he retired on superannuation. Whereas complainants have been received by the Government that these appointments have been made by said Shri Jarnail Singh for considerations and that no proper procedure was followed in making such appointments. Whereas the details of such appointments have been obtained from the Directorate of Agriculture Jammu and it is revealed that all 32 appointments have been made on 30.6.1998 when Shri Jarnail Singh had to demit office on superannuation. Whereas Shri Jarnail Singh functioned as Director, Agriculture Jammu, for over one year and the authority to make appointments of Class IV employees was vested in him as per Govt. Order No. 1786-GAD of 1997 dated 11.11.1997 and the said Jarnail Singh has exercised his authority only on the date of his superannuation. Whereas the facts indicate a prima facie case of mis-use of authority with ulterior motives and exhibit lack of propriety on the part of a senior Govt. Officer. Therefore, pending enquiry in the matter all these appointment orders as indicated in Annexure to his order are hereby rescinded. By order of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir." The appellants challenged their ouster and the Govt. Order dated 8.7.1998 through the medium of S.W.P. No. 1372/98 and the learned Single Judge after hearing learned counsel for the parties, dismissed the petition. The appellants have assailed the order of the writ court on the ground that they were selected by the selection committee duly appointed for the purpose. They were allowed to join pursuant to the appointment orders and without affording them an opportunity of being heard, have been ousted from service. The appointment of the appellants cannot be taken away except by following the procedure prescribed by law. The principles of natural justice have not been complied with by affording them an opportunity of being heard.
(3.) We have heard learned Counsel for the appellants perused the memorandum of appeal, order under appeal and other record.;

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