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Merely applying for a job does not give a legal right to a candidate: Supreme Court

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New Delhi, Supreme Court ,Supreme Court) has held that the candidate applying for the job has no legal right to insist that the recruitment process be taken to its logical end. A bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said that even by including a candidate in the select list, such right cannot be conferred on him.

“The main principle which we should keep in mind is that it is a matter of direct recruitment,” the bench said. A candidate who has applied does not have the legal right to insist that the recruitment process initiated should be carried to its logical end. Even the inclusion of a candidate in the select list cannot confer such a right on him.
The Supreme Court, however, clarified that it is pertinent that the employer is free to act arbitrarily.

The observation came from the court while deciding a case in which online applications were issued on March 1, 2018 inviting online applications for filling up of posts other than the post of Associate Professor for colleges run by Employees’ State Insurance Corporation. However, due to administrative reasons, a notice to postpone the recruitment process in respect of the post of Associate Professor and Professor was issued on 21st March 2018.

One of the applicants approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for filling up the post of Associate Professor with reference to the advertisement and CAT passed an order in his favor. The order was challenged before the Karnataka High Court which dismissed the writ petition.

The top court said that the order of the High Court to complete the appointment process within 45 days is clearly untenable. The bench said, “As the advertisement was put on hold, it is more likely that any candidate who may have been desirous of applying would not have applied being disheartened by the fact that the advertisement has been stayed. Therefore, the direction to conclude the proceedings within 45 days is not maintainable.”

The bench said, “We are of the view that a fair and time bound decision should be taken by the appellants, not being oblivious to the fact that the persons have applied and they would also expect fair treatment from the body like the appellant. Accordingly, we allow the appeal. We set aside the judgment and direct the appellants to take a decision within a period of two months after taking into account all relevant aspects.”

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