AJOY DEBBARMA Vs. STATE OF TRIPURA
LAWS(SC)-2020-8-8
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on August 05,2020

Ajoy Debbarma Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF TRIPURA Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

TANMOY NATH AND OTHERS VS. THE STATE OF TRIPURA AND OTHERS [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

UDAY UMESH LALIT, J. - (1.)Leave Granted.
(2.)These appeals arise out of the judgment and order dated 03.10.2019 passed by the High Court of Tripura at Agartala in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1040 of 2019 and all other connected matters.
(3.)Selection of 10,323 teachers made by the Government of Tripura, pursuant to advertisements issued in the years 2002, 2006 and 2009 was subject matter of challenge before the High Court of Tripura in Sri Tanmoy Nath and others vs. The State of Tripura and others, (2014) 2 TLR 731. While accepting the challenge, it was held by the High Court that the selection was contrary to the provisions of the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 and the relevant policies and that the appointments were arbitrary and illegal. It was found that the selection was irrational and illogical and that it suffered from nepotism and favouritism. The conclusions of the High Court were:-
"116. We live in a country which is governed by the rule of law. The action of each and every official or Government functionary has to be in accordance with the Constitution. The rule of law is the golden thread which runs through our Constitution. The two most important facets of the rule of law are fairness and equality. Every citizen has a right to equal opportunity of employment and equal treatment at the time of selection. Nobody can deny this right to any citizen of the country and if such right is denied, then this Court shall step in to ensure that justice is done.

117. Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India clearly provide that there should be equality to all, especially in terms of matters of employments. Reservations or preferences by whatsoever name called can be granted only in terms of the Constitution and not at the whims and fancies of the Government. The selection process in all cases should be transparent and above board. There should be clear cut guidelines laid down as to how the interview boards are to award marks to the candidates. This cannot be left to the discretion of the members of the interview board. Even in those cases where the Apex Court has upheld the selection of candidates on interviews, the Court has insisted that proper record should be maintained so that it can be determined how the selection has been made. In the present case, the less said about the selection process the better. We with regard to every category of teachers and with every sub-division/division have given examples which clearly show that there was no method followed by the State in making appointments and it is more than apparent to us that the appointments have been made on totally extraneous basis without considering the future of the poor students or the aspirations of the unemployed youth. The whole selection process was a cruel joke on the youth of Tripura."

3.1 While accepting the challenge, the High Court observed:-

"121.......The selections have been totally unfair. The selections have not been made in a transparent manner. The citizens of this country have not been treated equally. Most of the clauses of the policy are illegal and unconstitutional. The entire policy is bad because it gives no guidelines and, therefore, the entire selection will have to be, must be and is accordingly set aside.

122. Though we have set aside the selections, we are concerned with the education of the small children who are innocent and have no concern with the illegalities of the selection. We, therefore, direct that the teachers whose selections have been set aside shall continue to function in their present place of postings till 31.12.2014, i.e. the end of the academic session of this year.

123. The State on or before 31.12.2014 must complete a fresh process of selection of teachers in all categories. In view of the discussions held above, we direct that the State should frame a new Employment Policy within two months from today and shall carry out selections in accordance with the fresh policy as early as possible and not later than 31.12.2014."

3.2. In the end, the High Court issued following directions:-

"125. We would also like to make it clear that other than the benefits indicated by us above there can be no reservation/preference on the basis of age. There shall be no preference to dependent government servants or retired government employee or retrenched employees etc. There can be no reservation for linguistic or religious minorities or on area wise basis. It is further made clear that if the persons who are selected in the previous selection are again selected then the service rendered by them earlier shall be counted for the purpose of seniority, pension and all other purposes.

126. We may make it clear that the benefit to the candidates on the ground of being needy shall not be granted on the basis of the BPL certificates since we have found that there are no guidelines for issuing the BPL certificates. Other guidelines can also be laid down so that the needy can be identified properly.

127. Since we have set aside the revised employment policy which applies to a large category of posts and not merely to teachers, we would like to make it clear that our judgment shall be prospective in nature and shall not affect the appointments already made unless the said appointments are already under challenge before the Court on the ground that the employment policy is illegal."

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