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PSC selects candidate, Govt halts him for ALR

Don’t fill up post: CAT to Govt
06:13 AM Jul 05, 2024 IST | D A RASHID
psc selects candidate  govt halts him for alr

Srinagar, July 4: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Srinagar Thursday asked the government not to fill up a post of Assistant Legal Remembrance (ALR) against which a candidate was selected by the J&K’s Public Service Commission who was subsequently barred by the government for appointment for being son of a terrorist killed nearly 30 years ago.


“The modern approach should be to reform a person instead of branding him as a criminal all his life. As such, at this stage without commenting on the merits of the case, in our opinion, prima facie a case for indulgence is made out,” a bench of M S Latif, Member (J), and Prasant Kumar, Member (A), said while issuing notice on a plea by Farhat Zaffar whose father was killed on May 11, 1995, when he was nearly five-years-old.


Accordingly, the tribunal ordered that subject to the objection of the other side and till the next date of hearing, the post on which Zaffar has been selected though not appointed should not be filled up by any mode.


In support of its order, the bench referred to the case of Welsh students mentioned by Lord Denning in his book ‘Due Process of Law’.


Some students of Wales for invading the High Court in London were found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to prison for three months by the High Court judge.


They had filed an appeal before the Court of Appeals.


“We should permit them to go back to their studies, to their parents, and continue the good course which they have so wrongly disturbed,” Lord Denning had observed while allowing their appeal.


“In our opinion, we should display the same wisdom as displayed by Lord Denning,” the CAT said while granting relief to Zaffar.

Zaffar had applied for the post of ALR and District Litigation Officer in response to an advertisement notification issued by the PSC on August 29, 2022, seeking online applications from eligible candidates for 38 posts.

Being eligible for the post, he submitted his application and sought consideration under the EWS Category.

The PSC thereafter proceeded with the selection process and based on the merit obtained in the written examination and the interview conducted, Zaffar figured in the provisional list at Serial No 2 under the EWS Category issued by the commission on April 13, 2023.

The commission considered the representations filed against the ‘provisional select list’ and thereafter notified the ‘select list’ on May 12, 2023, wherein also Zaffar figured at Serial No 2.

Subsequently, the government on May 18, 2023, notified a list of candidates recommended by the commission, directing them to submit their email addresses and contact number details in the Establishment Section of the Department concerned in person or through email within 21 days for uploading the name on the Employee Verification System (EVS), for the verification of character and antecedents.

Accordingly, Zaffar submitted the requisite details.

The government on October 10, 2023, accorded sanction to the appointment of the candidates against the post of ALR /District Litigation Officer consequent upon receipt of a satisfactory report from the concerned department and Zaffar was excluded.

He was orally informed that the office received an adverse report on the ground that his father was a terrorist.

Zaffar petitioned CAT and contended, “Whether in law it is permissible to report adversely against him based on an alleged misdemeanour of his father, who was a terrorist and was killed on May 11, 1995, when he was only about five years of age.”

Through senior counsel Jahangir Ganai, Zaffar submitted before the tribunal: “Deprivation of means of livelihood by giving an adverse report based on the conduct of another person would tantamount to punishment and the deprivation thereto would be nothing than being unconstitutional. Such an action as such would be hit by not only Article 14 but also Article 21 of the constitution.”

The counsel argued: “By no stretch of imagination the act of the applicant’s father who was a terrorist and was subsequently killed on May 11, 1995, when the applicant was only about 5 years of age, can be a reason to submit an adverse report against the applicant more so, when the applicant was putting up with his mother due to the divorce between the applicant’s parents and had no links whatsoever with his father.”

He contended: “Criminal activity is akin to the person and not otherwise and a person cannot be made to suffer for the sins of his relation kith or kin.”

On the other hand, Government Attorney Waseem Gul submitted that it was only the indenting department that assessed the suitability of the candidate before the issuance of the order of appointment and it was only based on the report from the concerned agency that appointment order of Zaffar had not been issued as of now.

“In a democracy, we are governed by the rule of law and no authority, whosoever higher she or he might be, cannot be permitted to ignore the constitutional provisions. The fundamental rights which form the bedrock of the rule of law cannot be permitted to be tampered with in any manner as has been led by the applicant,” the tribunal observed after hearing the parties.

While Waseem Gul, received notices on behalf of the government, advocate Shah Amir received notice on behalf of the PSC as standing counsel.