HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
NAGPUR BENCH, NAGPUR.
WRIT PETITION NO.238 OF 2012
Petitioners:- 1) Hitendrasingh S/o Bhupendrasingh, Goramnagar,
R/o Near Gopalkrishna Temple,
At Post-Pandharkawada, Tahsil-Kelapur,
2) Dr. Atul S/o Digambar Warade,
R/o 201, Shiv Gauri Apartment, Sahakar
Nagar, Gorakshan Road, At Post-Akola, Tahsil-
3) Dr. Pravin S/o Vishwanath Patil,
R/o 5 & 6, Sanjevani Hospital,
Mahalakshmi Housing Society, Manish
Nagar, Near Kachore Lawn, Nagpur,
4) Dr. Vandana W/o Sachindra Madke
R/o Bunglow No. 271 (Extention), Near
Gajanan Maharaj Mandir, Balaji Nagar,
Manewada Road, Nagpur, Tahsil-District-
5) Dr. Devyanee D/o Keshav Nemade,
R/o Jawahar Nagar, At-Post-Tahsil-
6) Dr. Rajesh S/o Rangrao Rathod,
R/o Adiwasi Society, Near Jamankar
Nagar, Godani Road, At-Post-Tahsil
7) Dr. Prashant S/o Diwakarrao Raut,
R/o Plot No. 62, Pragati Colony,
Dighory, Nagpur, Tahsil-District-Nagpur.
8) Dr. Arvind S/o Prajanand Khandare,
R/o At-Gondapur, Post-Palso (Badhe),
Tahsil- Akola, District-Akola.
9) Dr. Bhavana D/o Ramchandra
B-25, Spring Field, Yashwant Square, Kharadi
By-Pass, Kharadi, Pune, Tahsil-District-Pune.
10) Kiran S/o Raghunath Chavhan,
R/o Sundergadhi, At- Post-Tahsil-Chopda,
11) Dhiraj S/o Lalaji Wasule,
R/o A/13, Abhinav Colony, Sita Nagar,
Somalwada, Nagpur, Tahsil-District-
12) Vishal S/o Balvantrai Shambharkar,
R/o 45 Joshiwadi, Chandramani Nagar,
Post Office Parvati Nagar, Nagpur,
13) Shivaji S/o Haridas Wavare,
R/o At-Nirnimgaon, Post-Sarati, Tahsil-
14) Prashant S/o Namdevrao Magare,
R/o C/o Shri V . R. Bahurupe, Asara
Colony No. 1, Behind Tukaram Hispital,
Near Dr. Umare House, Ring Road,
15) Vijay S/o Prabhakar Pardey,
R/o "Kalaprabha", Near Post Office,
Gokul Colony, Akola, Tahsil-District-
16) Ku. Neeta D/o Pralhadrao Barabde,
R/o New Congress Nagar, Block No. 63,
17) Dr. Tini D/o Sankara Pillai,
R/o Sarada Bhavan, Building No. 88, K.
T. Nagar, Katol Road, Nagpur, Tahsil-
18) Dr. Harsha W/o Shekher Mendhe (Kolte)
R/o C/o S. N. Mendhe, Plot No. 44,
Shree Nagar, Near Gayatri Nagar,
19) Dr. Jayashree D/o Devidas Ughade,
R/o At-Post-Babulgaon (Jahagir), Tahsil-
20) Dr. Mohammad Sajid S/o Abdul Hamid,
House No. 13, Ganga Nagar-1, Washim
By-Pass, Akola, Tahsil-District-Akola
21) Jagdishchandrasingh S/o Narottamsingh
R/o Opposite Holy Cross Convent
School, Jatharpeth Road, Kedia Plots,
22) Ramesh S/o Motibaba Ghadge,
R/o At Post-Sawargaon, Tahsil-Narkhed,
23) Sachin S/o Vithalrao Shinde,
R/o House No. 933, Shivaji Nagar,
24) Nitin S/o Harishchandra Sable,
R/o C/o R. U. Doifode, 150, Janki
Nagar, Near Janki Primary School,
Manewada Ring Road, Nagpur, Tahsil-
25) Sudhir S/o Awachitrao Bhongle,
R/o At- New Khetan Nagar (Kaulkhed),
Near Prajkta Girls High School, Post-
26) Mital S/o Sopan Supe,
R/o 42, Radhakrishna Nagar, Murtizapur
Road, Akola, Tahsil-District-Akola.
27) Sameer S/o Narendra Kale,
R/o Quarter No. C/20, Dr. PDKV Colony,
28) Mrs. Madhury D/o Mangesh Dhomne
R/o Gokul Colony, Near Jawahar
Nagar, Akola, Tahsil-District-Akola.
29) Satish S/o Tukaramji Dangore,
R/o At-Panchdhar, post- Kachri
Sawanga, Tahsil-Katol, District- Nagpur.
30) Mrs. Shilpa D/o Basawantrao
R/o Chandrabhaga Niwas, Adharsh
Colony, Hirabai Plot, Po. Gandhinagar,
31) Sham S/o Prabhakar Patinge,
R/o At Post-Lehegaon (Rly), Daryapur,
32) Atul S/o Padmakar Bharambe,
R/o 47, Perfect Housing Society (Ram
Krishna Building), Indraprastha Nagar,
33) Anil S/o Shriram Gomase,
R/o Gayatri Nagar, I/F ST Work Shop,
34) Sanjay S/o Sitaram Sarode,
R/o Ganraj Nagar, Godbole Lay Out,
Jambrun Road, Buldhana, Tahsil-
35) Mrs. Shubhangi D/o Gajanan
R/o 186, Surendra Nagar, Khamla
Road, Nagpur, Tahsil-District-Nagpur.
36) Santhosh S/o Sadashiv Gawali,
R/o At-Post-Nandgaon, Tahasil-Daund,
37) Vinod S/o Narendra Patil,
R/o 244, Kale Leyout, Zingabai Takli,
Godhani Road, Nagpur, Tahsil-District-
38) Kiran S/o Krishnarao Metange,
R/o 'Ashirwad' Near Khandelwal School,
Godbole Plot, Dabki Road, Akola,
39) Milindkumar S/o Sonu Joshi
R/o Plot No 22/A, Mitra Society, Near
TTN College, Keshav Nagar, Akola,
40) Sandeep S/o Raosaheb Kadam,
R/o At Post-Kotha (Veni), Tahail-
41) Hitendrakumar S/o Motilal Khobragade,
R/o At-Post-Mohagaon (Khadan),
Tahsil-Tumsar, District- Bhandara.
42) Dilip S/o Namdeorao Nalge,
R/o C/o S. P . Kale, Plot No. 15, Mitra
Shakti Colony, Keshav Nagar, Akola,
43) Vijay S/o Ashikaprasad Tiwari,
Behind Kanubhai Vora Andha Vidyalaya,
Doctors Colony, Akola, Tahsil-District-
44) Satish S/o Ramrao Munnarwar,
R/o At-Post-Dehani, Tahsil- Digras,
45) Jagdish S/o Sahadeorao Hiwrale,
R/o Saraswati Sadan Near Narayani
Buildsing, Gokul Colony, Akola, Tahsil-
46) Rajendra S/o Sadashiv Wankhede,
R/o Smt. Varsha Ramkrishna Dhomane,
Jai Santoshi Mata Colony, Near Suraj
Colony, Tower Line, VMV Road,
47) Balkishor S/o Maisya Muradi,
R/o Parvatabai Nagar, At Post Tahsil-
48) Sau.Prachi W/o Neeraj Kalane (Asalmol)
R/o A-2, Raghunandan Appartment,
Bisen Layout, Round Road, Akola,
49) Anil S/o Mohanrao Dange,
R/o C/o Mahadeorao S. Dange, Near
South Gate of Godbole Garden, Godbole
Plot, Dabki Road, Old City, Akola,
50) Ku. Aruna D/o Suresh Katole,
R/o B-14, SBI, Rachana Colony Malkapur
Road, Akola, Tahsil-District-Akola.
51) Feeroz khan S/o Farooque Khan,
R/o C/o Sayeed Sir, Near MNC Urdu
School Ground, Jameen Colony,
52) Ajay S/o Gulabrao Gathe,
R/o 23, Vishwashilla Colony, Near
Manisha Colony, Behind Rangoli Mangal
Karyalay, Shegaon Naka, Amravati,
53) Nandkishor S/o Ramchandra
R/o Naka No.2, Kawtha Road, Krishna
Nagar, Block No. 11 A, Bhilgaon, Post-
Khairi, Tahsil- Kamptee, District-
54) Vishal S/o Rajendra Wankhade,
30, Mahabank Colony, Sai Nagar,
Respondents:- 1) Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth through its Registrar,
PO. Krishinagar, Akola.
2) The Hon'ble Chancellor,
Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Vidyapeeth, Akola, Raj Bhawan,
3) The Vice Chancellor,
Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Vidyapeeth, PO - Krishinagar,
WRIT PETITION NO.389 OF 2012
Petitioner:- Ku.Pramodini Ambadas Lad,
Aged about 35 years,
Occupation : Service,
R/o Behind Mahadev's Mandir,
Umri Umarkhed, Akola,
Taluka & District : Akola.
Respondents:- 1) His Excellency the Hon'ble Chancellor, Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Vidyapeeth, Akola, Raj Bhawan,
2) The Vice Chancellor,
Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Taluka & District : Akola-444104.
3) Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Through its Registrar,
PO: Krishinagar, Akola,
Taluka & District : Akola-444104.
WRIT PETITION NO.247 OF 2012
Petitioners:- 1) Dr.Prashant Dinkarrao Peshattiwar, Aged 38 years, Occupation : Service,
R/o C/o Kamlabai Jattewar, 326,
Om Nagar, Sakkardara, Nagpur.
2) Dr.Bhagwan Anand Sonune,
Aged 36 years, Occupation : Service,
R/o 9, Kavita Apartment,
Laxminagar, Gorakshan, Akola.
3) Madan Ramkrushna Wandhre,
Aged about 38 years, Occupation : Service,
R/o Behind Ganesh Temple, Kothari Vatika
No.6, Malkapur Road, Khadki, Akola.
4) Prakash Uttamrao Ghatol,
Aged 38 years, Occupation : Service,
R/o "Shriprasad", 8/69, SBI Colony No.1,
Near Hari Market, Old Umari Naka,
5) Sanjay Atmaram Bhuyar,
Aged about 37 years, occupation service,
R/o Yashwant Bhavan, Gokul Colony,
Near Lala Lajpatrai Society,
6) Bharat Keduji Farkade,
Aged about 37 years, Occupation service,
R/o C/o Prafulla Jyoshi "Anand",
Near S.R.Patil Mahavidyalaya,
Behind Kulswamini Mangal Karyalaya,
Harish Colony, Sahakar Nagar, Akola.
7) Dr.Dnyaneshwar Shriram Kankal,
Aged about 38 years, occupation service,
R/o Plot No.17, Satone Layout,
Sawangi (Meghe), Wardha 442001.
8) Dr.Rajesh Damodar Vaidkar,
Aged about 39 years, occupation service,
R/o 24, Santaji Nagar, Near Shankar Nagar,
9) Sachin Murlidhar Shinde,
Aged about 35 years, occupation service,
R/o B-3, Maa Vaishnavi Residency No.6,
Jawahar Nagar Chowk, Akola.
10) Anmol Bajirao Bagde,
Aged about 44 years, occupation service,
R/o at Saori, Tq.Lakhani,
District Bhandara 441804.
11) Yogesh Rameshpant Sable,
Aged about 34 years, occupation service,
R/o at post Mozri, Tq.Teosa,
District : Amravati 444902.
12) Prashant Vitthalrao Mohod,
Aged 34 years, occupation service,
R/o at post Asra, Tq.Bhatkuli,
District : Amravati 444825.
13) Manish Madanrao Wakode,
Aged 35 years, occupation service,
R/o Bhagwan Nagar, Amravati 444606.
14) Anant Janrao Deshmukh,
Aged 39 years, occupation service,
R/o 20, Amankha Plots, Shastri Nagar,
Near Rajani Apartment, Behind
Aakashwani, Akola 444001.
15) Ravi Vitthalrao Pawar,
Aged 39 years, occupation service,
R/o Nagar Parishad Colony, Sambhaji
Nagar, Bypass Road, Mangrulpir,
District Washim 444403.
Respondents:- 1) Hon'ble Chancellor,
Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Vidyapeeth, Akola and
His Excellency, Governor of
Maharashtra, Raj Bhawan,
2) Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Taluka & District : Akola-444104.
Through its Registrar.
3) Hon'ble Vice Chancellor,
Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
PO: Krishinagar, Akola,
Taluka & District : Akola-444104.
WRIT PETITION NO.251 OF 2012
Petitioners:- 1) Parikshit Vinayak Shingrup,
Aged about 33 years,
R/o A-96, Sri Gurukrupa
Collector Colony, Behind New S.T. Stand,
2) Mayur Govindrao Dikkar,
Aged about 37 years,
R/o Gurukul Colony, Prasad Society Road,
3) Shashikant Shankarrao Bhoyar,
Aged about 35 years,
R/o Sankalp Building,
Moreshwar Colony, Akola.
4) Abhijeet Bhaskarrao Thakare,
Aged about 35 years,
R/o Plot No.86, Bhagyashree,
Near Post Office, Dwarka Nagari,
5) Prashant Awadhut Sarap,
Aged about 36 years,
R/o C/o A.D.Sarap, Kelanagar Road,
Near Chaitanya Milk Dairy,
Khamgaon, Dist. Buldhana.
6) Narendra Ramkrishna Dange,
Aged about 35 years,
R/o Chakradhar Nagar,
Badnera Road, Amravati.
7) Pradeep Devidas Thakare,
Aged about 40 years,
R/o Flot No.5, Shrikrishna Apartment,
Vidya Nagar, Akola.
8) Shailesh Dinkarrao Sarnaik,
Aged about 34 years,
R/o 8, Aryabhatta Colony,
Gorakshan Road, Akola.
9) Amit Rambhau Dorkar,
Aged about 33 years,
R/o "Parishram", Behind Madan Mahal,
Radhe Nagar, Akola.
10) Ku.Jaya Manik Giri,
Aged about 34 years,
R/o C/o M.R.Giri, Giri Nagar,
RTO Road, Post. Gandhinagar,
11) Amar Ashok Bhopale,
Aged about 36 years,
R/o 39/1 Ramashry Apartment,
Adarsh Colony, Behind Hindu Dnyanpeeth
School, Gorakshan Road, Akola.
12) Prashant Kalidas Paulkar,
Aged about 36 years,
R/o Balaji Krupa, Pariwar Col. No.4,
Keshav Nagar, Akola.
Respondents:- 1) Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola.
*14* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Through its Registrar,
Krishnagar P.O., Akola 444104.
2) His Excellency the Chancellor,
Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Raj Bhawan, Malbar Hills, Mumbai.
3) Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi
Through it's Vice Chancellor,
PO: Krishinagar, Akola-444104.
Mr.S.V.Manohar and Mr.A.M.Gorde, Senior Advocates a/w Mr.S.Khedkar and Mr.Gaikwad, for the Petitioners in Writ Petition No.238/2012, Mr.A.Parchure and Mr.S.Khedkar, for Petitioners in Writ Petition No. 251/2012, Mr.R.D.Wakode, for the Petitioners in Writ Petition No. 389/2012 and Mr.A.R.Ingole and Ms.R.D.Raskar, for the Petitioners in Writ Petition No.247/2012.
Mr.K.H.Deshpande, Senior Advocate, for the Respondent No.1. Mr.A.Sambre, for the Respondent/University.
CORAM : S.C.DHARMADHIKARI
Reserved on : 23rd July, 2012.
Pronounced on : 16th August, 2012.
JUDGMENT (Per S.C.Dharmadhikari, J.):
1 These Writ Petitions were to be heard finally at the admission stage and therefore, with consent of parties, we proceed to issue Rule on *15* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw each of these petitions. With their further consent, we dispose them of finally by this common judgment.
2 These Writ Petitions under Articles 226 of the Constitution of India question the order dated 16.12.2011 passed by the Chancellor of Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (for short "PDKV"), pursuant to which the appointment of each of the Petitioners either as Senior Research Assistant (for short "SRA") or Junior Research Assistant (for short "JRA") stands cancelled.
3 Mr.Manohar, learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the Petitioners requested us to refer to the facts in Writ Petition No. 238/2012. Accordingly, it would be advantageous to refer to these facts to appreciate the challenge raised.
4 It is common ground that the PDKV is an Agricultural University and therefore, governed by the Maharashtra Agricultural Universities (Krishi Vidyapeeths) Act, 1983 (for short "the said Act") and the Statutes thereunder. The Respondent No.2 is the Honourable Governor of Maharashtra and the Chancellor of PDKV. The Respondent No.3 is the Vice Chancellor of PDKV.
*16* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 5 Prior to the cancellation order, what transpired is that the PDKV was desirous of filling up various posts of JRAs and SRAs and therefore, had published an advertisement dated 14.08.2004 in a daily newspaper "Hitavada" dated 15.08.2004 thereby calling for applications from the candidates, who were interested in being appointed on the said posts. Annexure-A is the copy of the said advertisement. Thereafter, an addendum was issued by the Respondent No.1 dated 06.09.2004, thereby permitting the candidates from the Agricultural Engineering Faculty to apply for being appointed on the post of JRA and SRA. Annexure B to the Petition is a copy of addendum dated 06.09.2004.
6 It is stated that as per the said advertisement dated 14.08.2004, a candidate, in order to be eligible for appointed on the post of JRA, should have a basic qualification of Bachelor's Degree in the respective faculty and for being appointed on the post of SRA, a candidate was required to have a basic qualification of Master's Degree in the respective subject or Bachelor's Degree in First Class with distinction or Second Class Bachelor's Degree with three years experience as JRA. The said eligibility criteria, mentioned in the advertisement dated 14.08.2004, for being appointed on the posts of JRA and SRA, was also in consonance *17* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw with the provisions of the Maharashtra Agricultural Universities (Krishi Vidyapeeths) Statutes, 1990 (for short "the said Statutes"). 7 It is stated that based on the educational qualifications, acquired by them, the Petitioners had applied for being appointed on the posts of JRAs and SRAs pursuant to the advertisement dated 14.08.2004 and were called for interview by a communication issued by the Deputy Registrar of PDKV The Selection Committee constituted by the .
Respondent Nos.1 and 3, after taking into consideration the educational qualifications as well as the performance of the Petitioners at the time of the interviews, had prepared a selection list and had forwarded the same to the Respondent No.3/ Vice Chancellor. Annexure-C to the petition is a chart showing the educational qualifications and other details of the Petitioners. It is stated that few of the Petitioners i.e. 8 SRAs and 3 JRAs, after their appointments, have also acquired the higher qualification of Ph.D. Degrees in various subjects. The Selection Committee, constituted by the Respondent Nos.1 and 3 for making appointment on the posts of JRAs and SRAs, had recommended the name of the Petitioners for being appointed on the said posts, taking into consideration their entitlement for being appointed on the said posts and finding them to be most eligible and competent for the same.
*18* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 8 It is then stated that the Respondent No.3 after taking into consideration the selection list, forwarded to him by the Selection Committee and after being fully satisfied with the entitlement of the Petitioners for being appointed on the posts of JRAs and SRAs, issued appointment orders to the Petitioners thereby informing them about their appointment on the respective posts of JRAs and SRAs in the PDKV and also the terms and conditions on which the said appointments were made. Annexures D and E to the petition are copies of two such appointment orders.
9 It is stated that the Petitioners joined their respective posts in the Respondent No.1 University in the month of September, 2005 in pursuance of the appointment orders issued to them. Thereafter, the Petitioners were called upon to submit bonds by the Respondent No.1 University assuring that they will serve the Respondent No.1 University for a period of three years from the date of their respective appointments and will not apply for any other job outside the Respondent No.1 University for the said period of three years as it was one of the conditions in the appointment orders issued to the Petitioners by the Respondent No. 1 University. Accordingly, the Petitioners submitted necessary bonds with *19* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw the Respondent No.1 University. Annexures-F and G are the copies of some of such bonds. It is stated that the bonds submitted by all Petitioners were identical in nature and therefore, copies of the bonds submitted by each of the Petitioners are not annexed to the petition. 10 It is stated that few of the Petitioners were already in Government service, other Institutions and Companies, since last number of years and had resigned from their respective jobs for joining the posts with the Respondent No.1 University. Apart from this, few Petitioners were appointed on compassionate grounds and few of them have been given appointments by the Respondent No.1 University as "Project Affected Persons", since the Government acquired their respective lands. Annexures H, I and J to the petition are copies of the charts indicating the details of the Petitioners, who were in Government and Semi Government services, those who had left their earlier services and who were appointed on compassionate basis and project affected person's category. 11 It is stated that after the appointment of JRAs and SRAs were made in the year 2005, few of the persons, who were appointed vide the said selection process, had applied to the Respondent No.1 University through proper channel for forwarding their application forms to other *20* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw organizations, whenever they came across any vacancies in the said organizations/ institutions. However, their applications were never forwarded, for necessary processing, by the Respondent No.1 University and the concerned Applicants were orally informed that their application forms for appointment in other organizations/ institutions cannot be forwarded because of the condition No.(g) in their appointment orders that they are not entitled for applying for any job outside the Respondent No.1 University. One such case is that of one Mr.Anant J. Deshmukh, who was appointed as JRA in the year 2005 along with the Petitioners. The said Mr.Anant J. Deshmukh had made an application dated 18.05.2006 to the Respondent No.1 University, through proper channel, requesting it to forward his application form for the post of Assistant Professor in Forestry (Forestry Protection) at Dr.B.S.K.K.V., Dapoli. However, he was also orally informed that because of the condition No.(g) in their appointment orders that they are not entitled for applying for any job outside the Respondent No.1 University. Thus, by refusing to forward the applications of the persons, who wanted to apply for jobs outside the Respondent No.1 University, a clear message was given to all the Petitioners and other persons, appointed in the year 2005, that the Respondent No.1 University wanted all the Petitioners and other persons to strictly adhere to the condition No.(g) in their respective appointment orders and therefore, *21* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw most of the Petitioners were required to restrain themselves from making such applications. Annexure K to the petition is a copy of the application form of said Mr.Anant J. Deshmukh.
12 It is stated that the Petitioners, thereafter, received a communication dated 03.07.2006 from the Respondent No.1 University thereby informing them that one Shri Himmatrao S. Bache had filed a Writ Petition No.342/2006 before this Court challenging the selection of the candidates appointed as JRAs and SRAs and had prayed for setting aside the said selection and this Court was pleased to pass an order that the selection made by the Selection Committee shall be subject to further orders to be passed by this Court. It was further informed to the Petitioners by the said communication that the appointment of the Petitioners is subject to the orders that will be passed by this Court in the said Writ Petition. Annexure L to the petition is a copy of the said communication dated 03.07.2006.
13 It is stated that thereafter the Petitioners received a communication dated 12.06.2007 issued by the Respondent No.1 University informing them that a Writ Petition bearing No.4771/2006 was filed by one Dr.B.G.Bathkal and three others v/s His Excellency the *22* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Chancellor, Dr.PDKV Akola and three others, challenging the ,
appointments of the Petitioners on various grounds and the said petition was pending before this Hon'ble Court. The Petitioners were further informed vide the said communication dated 12.06.2007 that they are at liberty to file appropriate applications in the said Writ Petition, if they wish to be added as a party. Annexure M to the petition is a copy of said communication dated 12.06.2007. It is stated that few of the Petitioners had filed applications for intervention in the said Writ Petition in order to point out the factual position and justify their appointments by the Selection Committee.
14 It is further stated that the Petitioners thereafter received a notice dated 05.09.2007 from the Office of Enquiry Officer, SRA/JRA, PDKV Recruitment Enquiry, Nagpur thereby informing that Justice Shri H.W.Dhabe, Retired Judge of this Court (for short "Enquiry Officer") was appointed by His Excellency the Governor of Maharashtra, the Chancellor of PDKV for making an enquiry into the question of fairness of selection process in recruitment to the posts of SRA and JRA in PDKV vide his letter bearing No.CS/PDKV/37/06(6442)/1265 dated 28.05.2007 and further the Petitioners were called to appear before the said Enquiry Officer on the date mentioned in the said communication and file an affidavit and *23* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw documents to justify the Petitioners' selection and appointment. Annexure N to the petition is a copy of notice dated 05.09.2007. 15 It is stated that the Petitioners, in pursuance of the notice dated 05.09.2007, appeared before the Enquiry Officer and filed their respective affidavits to justify their selection and appointment on their respective posts of JRA and SRA. It is stated that on approaching the office of the Enquiry Officer, the Petitioners were given a brief idea in which they should submit their explanation on affidavit and it was more specifically informed to them that they should restrict their affidavit to their respective educational qualifications and the reasons, which according to them, made the Selection Committee select them and recommend their names for appointment. Therefore, mostly all the Petitioners have filed their explanation on affidavit before the said Enquiry Officer, on the lines on which they were directed to file the same i.e. Mentioning their educational qualifications and other details, which clearly justified their appointment on the posts of JRA and SRA respectively. Annexures O and P to the petition are copies of two such affidavits. It is stated that apart from this the said Enquiry Officer had thereafter issued few communications to few of the Petitioners, when he wanted any additional information from the candidates, which mostly *24* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw was in the nature of asking them about their relation with any of the employees of the Respondent No.1 University and granting of marks of Ph.D. to them by the Selection Committee. Annexure Q to the petition are copies of communications issued by the Enquiry Officer dated 03.06.2008 and 21.02.2009.
16 It is stated that except for making the Petitioners file affidavits on the aforesaid lines and asking them about their relation with any of the employees of the Respondent No.1 University and granting of marks of Ph.D. to them by the Selection Committee, the said Enquiry Officer had neither informed the Petitioners about any material adverse to the Petitioners nor had called upon them to explain and justify the procedure adopted by the Selection Committee while making their selection nor they were given any opportunity of hearing in the said regard. It is stated that after receipt of the communications from the Enquiry Officer calling upon few of the Petitioners to submit information as demanded by him, the concerned Petitioners have submitted the same with the said Enquiry Officer and have clearly demonstrated that their respective appointments were made strictly on merit basis. After submission of the said information, the concerned Petitioners were neither asked anything further nor any impression of any sort was given to them *25* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw that the explanation submitted to the Enquiry Officer was not acceptable to him or that he was not satisfied with the same. It is stated that most of the Petitioners, to whom communications were issued by the Enquiry Officer calling upon them to explain their relations with the employees of the Respondent No.1 University, had pointed out to the Enquiry Officer that either their relatives had already retired from the services or had expired much prior to the date on which the selection process had began and few of them i.e. lady candidates subsequently got into relationship with the employees of the Respondent No.1 University because of their marriage in the said family.
17 It is stated that the Petitioners, thereafter, received communications/ certificates from their respective officers, under whom they were working, certifying that they had completed the probation period of two years satisfactorily. However, it was also mentioned in the said communications/certificates that clearance of probationary period by the Petitioners will be subject to the decision/ order of this Court in Writ Petition Nos.342/2006 and 4771/2006. Annexure-R to petition is a copy of one such certificate dated 20.02.2008. It is stated that the communications/ certificates issued to the Petitioners informing about completion of probation period are identically worded, however, the same *26* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw are issued by the respective Heads of Department, under whom they were working and therefore, copies of such certificates received by all Petitioners are not annexed to the Writ Petition. 18 It is stated that right since the date of their respective appointments, the Petitioners have performed their respective duties with full dedication and to the utmost satisfaction of their superiors. The Petitioners were, therefore, never communicated any adverse remarks at any point of time. In fact, their services were throughout appreciated by one and all in the Respondent No.1 University. It is stated that as per the Rules, a person/ appointee is permitted to complete his probation only on being satisfied that his/her performance in his/her job is satisfactory requiring his/her continuation in the Department. Therefore, it can be further safely presumed that the appointments of the Petitioners were rightly and lawfully made as the Petitioners were eligible and competent for being appointed on their respective posts. It is stated that the Respondent No.1 University from time to time through the respective Department Heads, used to orally communicate to the Petitioners that the entry in their service record relating to their confidential report for a particular year was recorded as "Very Good" and used to communicate in writing to them when the said entry was recorded as "Outstanding". Most *27* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw of the Petitioners were, from time to time, informed by their respective Department Heads that the entry regarding their performance is recorded as "Very Good" in the Confidential Report. Annexure S to the petition is a copy of one such communication regarding the Confidential Report. 19 It is stated that after the appointment of the Enquiry Officer by the Respondent No.2/ His Excellency Chancellor of PDKV, the said fact was brought to the notice of this Court and this Court thereafter was pleased to pass an order dated 02.04.2008 in Writ Petition Nos. 4771/2006 and 905/2006 thereby disposing of the said petitions for the reason that the Respondent No.2 has already initiated an enquiry for the purpose of enquiring into the allegations made in the said petitions and, therefore, it was not necessary for this Court to further proceed with the said petition. Annexure T to the petition is a copy of order of this Court dated 02.04.2008.
20 It is stated that though the said Enquiry Officer was directed to complete his enquiry, regarding the allegations of irregularities/ illegalities in the selection process of JRAs and SRAs of the year 2004-05, the time granted to the said Enquiry Officer was, from time to time, extended by the Respondent No.2/ His Excellency the Chancellor of PDKV. *28* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw It is stated that none of the Petitioners were in any manner responsible for the request made by the Enquiry Officer for grant of extension of time to him for completion of the said enquiry nor they were at any time informed about the extensions granted to the said Enquiry Officer from time to time. The Enquiry Officer had thereafter, submitted his report dated 14.12.2010 to the Respondent No.2/ His Excellency the Chancellor i.e. nearly after a period of more than three and half years from the date of initiation of the said enquiry. The Petitioners learnt about the contents of the said report from the articles published in the daily newspapers and learnt about the recommendations made by the Enquiry Officer and also learnt that the Enquiry Report is of more than 1800 pages. It is stated that the report dated 14.12.2010 has not been served upon the Petitioners, however, it was recently learnt by them that the said report was available on the official website of the Respondent No.1 University. Thereafter, the Petitioners have downloaded the same from the website. It is stated that in order to prevent the present petition from becoming bulky, the Petitioners have not filed the Enquiry Report dated 14.12.2010 alongwith the present petition. It is stated that the Respondents are well aware of the report dated 14.12.2010 as well as the contents thereof and in fact, they were under lawful obligation to supply the same to the Petitioners before relying upon the said report for initiating any action against the *29* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Petitioners on the basis of the said report.
21 It is stated that after receipt of the report dated 14.12.2010 of the Enquiry Officer, the Respondent No.2/His Excellency the Chancellor of PDKV had directed the Respondent No.3/ Vice Chancellor to place the said report before the Executive Council for its opinion. The Executive Council, without examining the entire report dated 14.12.2010, in the very first meeting when it was placed before it for consideration by the Respondent No.3/ Vice Chancellor, blindly accepted the observations and conclusions in the said report, without even going through the contents thereof. However, the Executive Council requested the Respondent No.2/ His Excellency the Chancellor to take a lenient view in the said matter and thereby protect the appointments of the Petitioners i.e. the candidates selected by the Selection Committee in the selection process of 2004-05. Annexure U to the petition is a copy of the minutes of meeting of the Executive Council dated 14.02.2011.
22 It is stated that after getting the knowledge of the report dated 14.12.2010, the Petitioners made representations to the Respondent No.2/ His Excellency the Chancellor thereby pointing out the fact that their appointments were made on merit basis and that terminating their *30* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw services after lapse of a period of more than six years service with the Respondent No.1 University will be totally unjust, arbitrary and illegal. The Petitioners had, therefore, prayed for consideration of their cases in a just, proper and sympathetic manner. Annexure V to the petition is a copy of representation dated 26.07.2011.
23 It is stated that at the time of the submission of the said Enquiry Report dated 14.12.2010 as well as submission of their representations to the Respondent No.2/ His Excellency the Chancellor, the Petitioners had already crossed the maximum prescribed age for being employed in Government Departments and therefore, they had pointed out the Respondents that they will be thrown on the street if their services are cancelled and their family members, who are dependents on them for meeting their daily needs, will also suffer a lot. It was also pointed out by the Petitioners that most of them are married by now and have kids and have other responsibilities in life, like repayment of loans which they had taken for construction of their houses and other purposes. Annexure W to the petition is a chart indicating the age of the Petitioners. 24 It is stated that despite pointing out the factual position to the Respondents, the Respondent No.2/ His Excellency the Chancellor *31* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw issued a communication dated 21.05.2011 to the Respondent No.3/ Vice Chancellor thereby stating therein that the Enquiry Officer has observed in his report dated 14.12.2010 that there were certain irregularities/ illegalities in the procedure adopted by the Selection Committee for carrying out the selection of SRAs and JRAs in the year 2004-05 and that the said report was accepted by the Executive Council in its meeting dated 14.02.2011. The Chancellor had, therefore, called upon the Vice Chancellor to take necessary action in accordance with the provisions of law against the persons, who were selected by the Selection Committee through the said selection process and submit a report thereof within a period of one month. Annexure X to the petition is a copy of the said communication dated 21.05.2011, which was obtained by the Petitioners under the Right to Information Act.
25 It is stated that the Petitioners have also reliably learnt that after submission of the Enquiry Report dated 14.12.2010 and issuance of the communication dated 21.05.2011, the Vice Chancellor has initiated a departmental enquiry against the persons who were members of the Selection Committee which had carried out the selection process relating to the appointment of the Petitioners and has also put them under suspension. It is also learnt by the Petitioners that the enquiry against the *32* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw members of the Selection Committee is still pending. It is stated that the charges in the enquiry initiated against the members of the Selection Committee are, in sum and substance, that they have not followed proper procedure in carrying out the selection process of JRAs and SRAs in the year 2004-05 and have illegally made selections of 131 candidates, which includes the Petitioners, thereby causing loss to the Respondent No.1 University and also bringing disrepute to it.
26 It is stated that the Petitioners thereafter were served with a communication dated 03.10.2011 thereby calling upon them to appear before the Vice Chancellor for personal hearing regarding their selection by nomination as SRAs/ JRAs during 2005, on the date, time and venue mentioned in the said communication. It was also informed to the Petitioners that during the personal hearing, they are required to submit the statement in brief regarding their selection as JRA and SRA respectively during 2005. After receipt of the said communication dated 03.10.2011, the Petitioners had approached the office of the Vice Chancellor enquiring from him the details, which the Petitioners are expected to mention in their statement, to be submitted at the time of hearing, and thereafter the Petitioners were informed that a format, in which the submissions are to be made by the Petitioners, was posted on *33* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw the official website of the Respondent No.1 University and that the Petitioners should only give brief statement regarding his/her selection during 2005. The Petitioners, thereafter, downloaded the format, in which the Vice Chancellor wanted the Petitioners to submit their statement in brief, from the official website of the Respondent No.1 University. Annexure Y to the petition is a copy of one such communication dated 03.10.2011 and Annexure Z is a copy of format downloaded from the website. It is stated that the Petitioners at no point of time were ever called upon by the Respondents to point out that the observations and conclusions in the Enquiry Report dated 14.12.2010 were incorrect and could not be relied upon or used against the Petitioners for terming their selection to be irregular or illegal.
27 It is stated that the Petitioners, thereafter, appeared before the Vice Chancellor on the respective dates mentioned in the communication dated 03.10.2011 and filed their brief submissions in the format and manner in which they were instructed to file the same by the Vice Chancellor, thereby pointing out the fact that their appointments were made solely for the reason that they were eligible and competent for being appointed on their respective posts and that their appointments cannot be said to be illegally made by any stretch of imagination. The *34* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Petitioners have also pointed out that they have already completed service of more than six years with the Respondent No.1 University and, therefore, their services are liable to be protected on equitable grounds also, more so as they are totally innocent and cannot be blamed for any of the alleged irregularities or illegalities of the Selection Committee. Few of the Petitioners had also filed copies of the judgments of the Honourable Supreme Court of India and the High Courts in order to point out that even as per the law laid down by the said Courts, the services of the Petitioners cannot be disturbed and are to be protected. Annexure Z/1 is a copy of one such brief submission filed by the Petitioners dated 10.11.2011.
28 It is stated that the Vice Chancellor, in the personal hearing of 83 JRAs and SRAs held on 10.10.2011 and 11.10.2011, somehow presented that he was giving necessary opportunity of hearing to the Petitioners to justify their appointments in the Respondent No.1 University, which is nothing but an eye-wash as the Petitioners were called upon to justify their appointments within a short span of 10-15 minutes granted to them by the Vice Chancellor by completely ignoring the fact that such an exercise cannot be said to be due compliance of principles of natural justice while taking a decision relating to termination or otherwise *35* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw of the services of employees, who have already put in services of more than six years in the Respondent No.1 University. It is stated that the Petitioners tried their best to point out the factual position to the Vice Chancellor and convince him that their appointments cannot be said to be illegal and that they are liable to be continued in their services on their respective posts.
29 It is stated that the Petitioners were hopeful that the Respondents will take into consideration the factual position pointed out by them in their brief submissions and at the time of personal hearing, however, to their utter shock and surprise, the Petitioners were served with a communication dated 29.12.2011 issued by the Vice Chancellor, thereby referring to the Order dated 16.12.2011 bearing No.CS/PDKV37/06/(6442)/4201 passed by the Chancellor and further informing that consequent to the findings and conclusions in the Enquiry Report submitted by Justice Mr.Dhabe (retired), the entire selection process of SRAs and JRAs has been found to be vitiated by illegalities, irregularities and improprieties and, therefore, the selection and appointment of the Petitioners made by the Vice Chancellor vide his order dated 16.09.2005 stands cancelled w.e.f. 29.01.2012. Annexure Z/2 to the petition are the copies of said orders dated 29.12.2011. It is stated that *36* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw though the reference of the order dated 16.12.2011 passed by the Chancellor was made in the communication dated 29.12.2011, however, a copy thereof was not supplied to the Petitioners. The Petitioners, therefore, obtained a copy of the order dated 16.12.2011 from the Respondent No.1 University under the Right to Information Act and Annexure Z/3 to the petition is a copy of the order dated 16.12.2011. It is therefore, stated that the Petitioners have approached this Court by filing the present Writ Petition.
30 The facts in the other Writ Petitions are more or less identical, but wherever there is any difference therein, we may, during the course of the judgment, refer to them.
31 The contentions of the Senior Counsel appearing in support of the Petitions is that there are in all 83 candidates. The Chancellor has held that 65 of these candidates have not been appointed pursuant to the process which can be termed as wholly illegal and vitiated. At the most there may be some irregularities while appointing, therefore, the Chancellor recommended that 65 of the appointments can be safely termed as non-tainted. Balance 18 appointments could be said to be vitiated by an illegality going to the root of the process and therefore, are *37* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw termed as tainted. Mr.Manohar submits that the order passed by the Chancellor suffers from patent lack of jurisdiction. It is submitted that source of power is stated to be Section 11(1) of the said Act. That Section together with sub-sections, if perused, will not confer any power to direct an inquiry or cause an inquiry to be made in the appointments or procedure for making them. The general power that is conferred must be seen as a power merely to inspect and make an inquiry in relation to the buildings, farms, laboratories, libraries, museums, workshops and equipments of any college, institution or hostel maintained, administered or recognized by the University and of the teaching and other work conducted by or on behalf of the University or under its auspices of and of the conduct of examinations or other functions of the University. Therefore, the power to inquire cannot be said to be independent, but must be read with preceding power of inspection. Thus, the sweep of power to inspect is restricted by the words appearing in sub-section (1) of Section 11 and that power cannot be said to be "catch all clause". It must be read ejusdem generis and in tandem with earlier words. 32 Mr.Manohar submits that on a true construction of Section 11 of the said Act, the power to conduct an inquiry into the appointments of teachers is not available to the Chancellor. Even assuming that the power *38* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw under Section 11 of the said Act was available to the Chancellor, yet before exercising the said power, the Chancellor ought to have heard the Petitioners, who are prejudicially affected and on whom severe civil consequences have entailed. In any case, the power under Section 11(5) of the said Act to "issue such directions as he may think fit", necessarily postulates a power to issue lawful directions and the Chancellor could not have issued directions contrary to or prohibited by Law. Vide the Statute 138, the conditions of services of the Petitioners are governed by the Maharashtra Civil Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules. It was, therefore, beyond the powers of the Chancellor to direct the summary dismissal of the Petitioners contrary to the provisions of the Discipline and Appeal Rules, applicable to their services.
33 Mr.Manohar submits that the authorities, namely, the Chancellor as well as the Vice Chancellor ought to have segregated and identified appointments which were tainted and those which were not. In fact, the Vice Chancellor had carried out such an exercise, however, the Chancellor gravely erred in law in directing the Vice Chancellor to summarily dismiss all the employees whether or not their appointments were unblemished and untainted or not.
*39* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 34 Mr.Manohar submits that the directions under Section 11(5) of the said Act cannot be sweeping and they will have to be restricted to only few authorities. In other words, this power cannot be equated with the exercise of the power under Section 15(5) of the said Act and by resorting thereto all proceedings cannot be annulled. The power may be wide and elastic, but while exercising the same it is not permissible to set aside or set at naught the concluded proceedings like selection of employees. Therefore, in few and restricted cases only the same can be exercised. Further, if that power is sought to be exercised in cases of the present nature, then, it was incumbent upon the Chancellor to hear the affected parties. In these cases by exercise of such power, prejudice is caused to the employees like the Petitioners. There was no opportunity to place forward any material for consideration especially that by passage of time the Petitioners have been confirmed in service and established in life. They will be now uprooted if such orders are made. Further, the Petitioners had no control over inquiry and proceedings of the Inquiry Committee like that appointed by the Chancellor. In these circumstances and when Inquiry Committee took four years and more for submission of the report, then, all these aspects could have been pointed out by the Petitioners if they were given an opportunity to appear before the Chancellor.
*40* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 35 In these circumstances the impugned order cannot be sustained. The Petitioners also could have pointed out that they have crossed maximum prescribed age for getting employment in any Government and Semi Government organization. They had also executed Bonds in favour of the PDKV at the time of their appointments and therefore, none of them sought employment in any other organization. Some of them had already left their employment with other organizations and joined the PDKV. For all these reasons and when the Petitioners are not responsible for any irregularities committed in their appointments and the selection process as a whole, then, all the more their appointments cannot be cancelled by terming them as wholly illegal. 36 Mr.Manohar has relied upon the following decisions in support of the above contentions:-
(1) (2010) 10 SCC 707
Girjesh Shrivastava and others v/s State of
Madhya Pradesh and others.
(2) (2009) 1 SCC 768
Tridip Kumar Dingal and others v/s State of
West Bengal and others.
(3) (2006) 11 SCC 356
Inderpreet Singh Kahlon and others v/s
State of Punjab and others.
*41* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw (4) (1993) 3 SCC 591
Dr.M.S.Mudhol and another v/s
S.D.Halegkar and others.
(5) (1991) 3 SCC 368
Munindra Kumar and others v/s Rajiv Govil
(6) (1998) 8 SCC 194
Basudeo Tiwary v/s Sido Kanhu University
(7) (2008) 8 SCC 725
Dev Dutt v/s Union of India and others.
(8) AIR 1986 SC 180
Olga Tellis and others v/s Bombay
Municipal Corporation and others.
(9) (2011) 2 SCC 258
Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association
v/s Designated Authority and others.
(10) 2010(4) All E.R. 51 (interpretation of "catch all clause").
37 Mr.Gorde, learned Senior Counsel appearing in Writ Petition No.247/2012 for the Petitioners, submitted that there are total 35 posts of SRA and 40 posts of JRA. There are disciplines provided. There is no horizontal reservation, but vertical reservation is provided. 38 Mr.Gorde has invited our attention to the appointment letter in case of the Petitioner No.1 and submitted that he is appointed against *42* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw category N.T.(B). Our attention is invited to the terms and conditions at Annexure-1 page 77 in the paper book of this Writ Petition, to submit that the appointment is temporary and made on probation for a period of two years which can be further extended upto two years. Further, the appointment is governed by the service conditions prescribed by the said Act, the Statutes, Regulations and other prevailing service rules, Standing Orders governing service conditions as amended and modified from time to time. The Petitioners were required to execute a Bond to serve the University for a period of three years. Our attention is invited to clauses (f), (g) and (h) of Annexure-1 at page 77 and Statute 138 of the Statutes, to urge that the Maharashtra Civil Services Rules would apply as they are adopted by the University. Our attention is also invited to the confirmation letter, copy of which is at page 79 of the paper book in case of the Petitioner No.1 and it is then urged that there has been never any doubt about eligibility of the Petitioners or else the candidates like the Petitioner No.1 would not have been promoted. The promotion order at page 80 is relied upon. It is submitted that the Inquiry Committee took three years and more and its report indicates that out of 15 Petitioners in this Writ Petition, the appointments of 13 are valid as held by the Vice Chancellor. If such an opinion is rendered by the Vice Chancellor, then, the Chancellor should have given due weightage to the report of the Vice *43* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Chancellor. Instead, the Chancellor has cancelled all appointments. For all these reasons, it is submitted that the impugned order deserves to be set aside.
39 Our attention is also invited to Section 11(3) of the said Act to urge that outcome of the inquiry has to be communicated to the Executive Council through the Vice Chancellor and after the Chancellor receives the Executive Council's report an advice can be tendered by it. The power is thus advisory and cannot be exercised to impose penalties. In these circumstances when mandate of various sub-sections of Section 11 has not been adhered to and straightaway final decision has been taken, then, the impugned decision is ultra vires the powers of the Chancellor. Mr.Gorde was at pains to point out that the Inquiry Committee has not found fault with the entire selection process. It has suggested corrective measures. Our attention was invited to the revised lists submitted by the Inquiry Committee at pages 1045, 1050 and 1052 which are extracts of the Dhabe, J. Committee's report. It is submitted that there are some appointments which are tainted whereas some are absolutely valid. If the hearing is not given, relevant material including the opinion of the Executive Council is also ignored, then, serious prejudice will be caused and the impugned order is, therefore, vitiated by non observance *44* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw of the principles of natural justice and equally violates the mandate of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
40 The arguments of Mr.Manohar and Mr.Gorde are supported and adopted by Mr.Parchure, learned counsel appearing for the Petitioners in Writ Petition No.251/2012 and Mr.Wakode, learned counsel appearing for the Petitioners in Writ Petition No.389/2012. In addition, they have contended that the Chart at page 40 of Writ Petition No.251/2012 would show that the appointment is valid and even the notice, copy of which is at page 68, would indicate that there is no allegation that the appointment is vitiated. Therefore, when opportunity is not given and there is no reference to the fact that each of the Petitioners have put in six years of service, either in the report of the Inquiry Committee or in the notices issued by the Inquiry Committee, then, the Chancellor has seriously erred in cancelling the appointments of the Petitioners. There is reliance placed on the statements recorded behind back of the Petitioners, which is also not permitted in law. As far as the Writ Petition No. 389/2012 is concerned, all that is relied upon is Page 171, to urge that the Petitioner is in no way responsible for other irregularities as her selection has been held to be valid throughout. In these circumstances, the Chancellor should not have set aside her appointment as it is not *45* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw tainted.
41 Thus, the Petitioners in all these petitions pray that the impugned orders be set aside and the petitions be allowed. 42 Mr.K.H.Deshpande, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the Respondent No.1, submits that the background in which these petitions have been filed and the impugned orders have been passed, must not be lost sight of. Each of the Petitioners before this Court were aware of filing of two petitions in which this Court made specific orders that their appointments would be subject to further orders in the Writ Petitions including in the inquiry proceedings. The inquiry came to be ordered because of the pendency of the Writ Petitions which alleged large scale irregularities and illegalities in the selection and appointment of JRA and SRA. The events preceding the inquiry would indicate that serious allegations have been made in the complaint of one Dr.Bhatkal. In the backdrop of all this, the Chancellor ordered the inquiry and a one man inquiry committee comprising of a retired judge of this Court Justice H.W.Dhabe was constituted.
43 Mr.Deshpande submits that it is improper and erroneous to *46* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw urge that the Chancellor has no powers to order any inquiry. The words in Section 11(1) of the said Act are very wide. Not only inspection can be ordered, but even inquiry in relation to the functions and administration of the University can be directed, which is precisely done in this case. Mr.Deshpande laid special emphasis on the wording of Section 11(1) and urged that if an inquiry can be made regarding any matters connected with the administration and finances of the University, then, the legislature has not restricted the rights of the Chancellor. If Section 15 of the said Act is perused in its proper perspective, it would be clear that the Chancellor, by virtue of his office, shall be the Head of the University. He has discretion to call for his information any papers relating to the administration of the affairs of the University and such requisition shall be complied with by the University. The Chancellor has power to annul any proceeding of any officer or authority of the University, which is not in conformity with the Act or Statutes or Regulations or which is prejudicial to the interest of the University. Thus, if the position, status and wide sweep of the powers of the Chancellor are noted, then, it will be futile to urge that the Chancellor has no authority to cause any inquiry to be made and particularly of the nature directed in this case. To cause an inquiry to be made in like manner regarding any matter connected with administration or finances of the University, is a *47* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw power which has been conferred advisedly in broad terms. The powers are both, to cause an inspection or to cause an inquiry to be made. In these circumstances, the principle of ejusdem generis will not apply. The inspection is caused with regard to tangible matters whereas inquiry can be caused to be made in respect of any matters connected with administration or finances of the University. Mr.Deshpande submits that if the functions of the University are to institute teaching, research and extension education posts required by the University and to appoint persons to such posts and to create administrative, ministerial and other posts with the prior approval of the State Government and to appoint persons to such posts, as per the prescribed procedure (see Section 6(x) and 6(xi) of the said Act), then, the selection committee can be appointed to recommend appointment of any person as a member of the academic staff. Section 58 enacts such provision. If the appointment of the staff by constitution of selection committee and thereafter, to consider their recommendations with regard to appointment, then, to urge that this is not a matter connected with the administration of the University, is to curtail the wide ranging powers of the Chancellor and undermine his authority, dignity and status. Therefore, all contentions on the powers and authority of the Chancellor must fail.
*48* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 44 Mr.Deshpande has invited our attention to the sub sections of Section 11 and Section 15 to urge that if these provisions are read together and harmoniously, that position of the Chancellor can be appreciated and judged. He is patriarch and oversee the administration and finances of the University. His powers are very wide as is apparent from Section 15(5) of the said Act. In these circumstances, the impugned order cannot be quashed and set aside for lack of authority, jurisdiction and power in the Chancellor.
45 As far as the facts are concerned, they are gross inasmuch as the Chancellor has found that large number of candidates were called for interviews to the posts of SRA and JRA without following proper ratio as prescribed by the State Government. It has led to selection of undeserving and less meritorious candidates by manipulation, favoritism and other mal-practices. Although the posts of SRA and JRA belonged to two separate cadres with different pay scales, different qualifications and duties and responsibilities, the Selection Committee held common interviews for the said posts and vitiated the selection of the candidates as their suitability could not have been properly judged in such interviews for the said posts. The shortlisting of eligible candidates for interview was avoided to increase the scope for manipulation, nepotism and corruption. *49* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw The selection lists for the posts of SRA and JRA were not prepared or considered and approved in the meeting of the Selection Committee. Such and other serious infirmities, illegalities and gross irregularities were found. Once the inquiry has been caused by the Chancellor and the inquiry report of Justice Dhabe Committee, as a matter of fact, found all this writ large in the appointments, then, to urge that the Chancellor was bound by any other recommendation, is making mockery of his powers and also the provisions of the said Act. The Act enacts safeguards and inbuilt, checks and balances for proper and regular conduct of the affairs of the University, its administration and finances. No selection or appointment of public office can be made except in a lawful, fair and just manner. There should be complete transparency and openness in such matters. If there is any scope for favoritism, manipulation, nepotism or corruption in the selection process or thereafter in making appointments, that would completely destroy the image, reputation and status of the University. Therefore, this Court should not undertake any scrutiny of the facts in its limited jurisdiction as it has no power to substitute its own views in place of the Chancellor or sit in judgment as an appellate authority over them. The limited power that this Court possesses in judicial review is to find out, whether, there was any material before the Chancellor for cancelling the appointments.
*50* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 46 To support his argument, Mr.Deshpande has invited our attention to a communication dated 16.12.2011 which is the impugned order and submits that the material in the form of the Inquiry Committee's report and the findings therein, was enough to conclude that the entire selection process or selection of candidates to the posts of SRA and JRA is vitiated by illegalities, irregularities and improprieties. The appointments, therefore, were required to be set aside. Mr.Deshpande submits that the report of the Inquiry Committee was accepted by the Executive Council. The Chancellor has, thus, followed the entire procedure enumerated by Section 11 of the said Act. In these circumstances to urge that there was nothing before the Chancellor or that the Chancellor took a decision without any material before him, is wholly improper and such contentions and arguments should not be accepted by this Court.
47 Mr.Deshpande submits that equally untenable is the argument that the principles of natural justice have been violated and the impugned order should be set aside on that ground. In this behalf, Mr.Deshpande submits that the Inquiry Committee issued notices to each of the Petitioners. It called for their explanation on affidavit which was *51* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw taken on record. Each one of them had an opportunity to place relevant and necessary facts in relation to the individual appointment and to place forward his views. Mr.Deshpande submits that the fallacy in the argument is that the Court is considering a challenge to the impugned order which sets aside the selection for the reason that the process, as a whole, is vitiated. There is no question of any individual appointment being in issue. When there was complaint of large scale manipulation, favoritism, illegality and irregularity in the selection process and that was being inquired by the Chancellor, then, to urge that every individual should have been heard by the Chancellor before accepting recommendations of the Inquiry Committee (Dhabe, J. Committee) and setting aside their appointments, is not feasible to say the least. In the facts and circumstances when Dhabe, J. Committee gave opportunity to all candidates and it made recommendations with regard to illegalities and irregularities in the selection process, then, the impugned order cannot be set aside for want of hearing to individuals. The inquiry is a public inquiry in which all individuals participated.
48 Mr.Deshpande pointed out, for illustration, Annexure-A to Writ Petition No.238/2012 and submitted that in the advertisement dated 14.08.2004 for making recruitment and appointment to the posts of SRA *52* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw and JRA, total posts are indicated, but surprisingly the condition Nos.(II) and (III) of the terms and conditions under the heading of "other conditions" have been kept vague. Condition No.(II) is that the number of posts and reservation thereof is subject to change, it may increase or decrease. Condition No.(III) states that where number of applications received is large, the University reserves its right to short list the candidates to be called for interview by adopting appropriate method. As far as reservation of female candidates and physically handicapped candidates as per the Government policy is concerned, it is stated that, same will be observed subject to availability of suitable candidates. These conditions are, therefore, deliberately worded vaguely so as to manipulate the process to the advantage of a selected few candidates. The applications with incomplete information and documents were not to be considered, yet the persons produced all certificates and testimonials allegedly during the interviews. If Ph.D. Degree is awarded after cut off date or in any event it is awarded prior to cut off date, but no Degree Certificate/ Document is produced or attached to the application, then, entertaining such document later on, has caused prejudice and harm to other candidates who were kept out. In these circumstances, there is no question of any sympathy or mercy for appointees like the Petitioners. They are all tainted appointments. They fully knew the order passed in *53* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Writ Petition No.4771/2006 that their selection is subject to the result of the said Writ Petition. That Writ Petition was disposed of later on and the Inquiry Committee was constituted which was presided over by a retired Judge of this Court. For these reasons and when even the Petitioners have stated that they received notices from the Inquiry Committee, that they were aware of large scale allegations, then, the impugned order is not vitiated for want of personal hearing by the Chancellor. 49 Mr.Deshpande submits that the recommendations made by the Vice Chancellor were not binding on the Chancellor. Therefore, while not accepting them and considering the matter from the above perspective, the Chancellor was not required to give any hearing to the Petitioners. Their complaint that the Vice Chancellor's recommendations have been overturned or overlooked and therefore, the hearing was necessary, is equally without substance. The recommendations of the Vice Chancellor were not about any validity or invalidity of appointments, but essentially that humanitarian view may be taken. Once the magnitude of illegalities was noticed by the Chancellor, he was duty bound to quash and set aside the appointments and the recommendations of the Vice Chancellor, therefore, presented no difficulty for him. Our attention is invited to extracts of the Inquiry Report by Mr.Deshpande and he submits *54* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw that there is complete compliance with law inasmuch after the Inquiry Committee's report was received by the Chancellor, the matter together with the Chancellor's views was placed before the Executive Council and the Vice Chancellor. The Chancellor's directive was very clear inasmuch as he directed to only give hearing to the affected employees. There was no requirement, therefore, to segregate or to divide the appiointments into two classes i.e. tainted and untainted. Mr.Deshpande submits that the recommendation to take lenient view is that of the Executive Council as would be apparent if one notices even a letter dated 14.02.2011 addressed by the Vice Chancellor forwarding the opinion of the Executive Council, which opinion is also considered by the Chancellor very meticulously and properly. In these circumstances when the Petitioners' selection was always in jeopardy and they are not taken by surprise, then, to set aside the order on any technical ground would put premium on the acts of those who have tarnished the reputation of the University and destroyed faith of all concerned in public employment. Mr.Deshpande was, therefore, at pains to point out that the Chancellor has arrived at a conclusion that personal hearing was given to all 83 candidates on 10 th, 11th and 17th October, 2011, that the Vice Chancellor has forwarded his report and his views cannot be accepted because the selection process was void ab-initio. If the selection process has lost its legal sanctity and there *55* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw
is no way of rectifying irregularities, then, to undertake an exercise as to which selection is on merit and therefore, untainted and which is not, is impossible. The conclusion of the Chancellor that the Vice Chancellor has no authority to contradict findings of Justice Dhabe Committee, deserves serious consideration and merit and cannot be brushed aside in the given facts and circumstances. For all these reasons, Mr.Deshpande submits that the Writ Petitions be dismissed.
50 Mr.Deshpande has relied upon the following decisions in support of his above contentions:-
(1) (2006) 4 SCC 1
Secretary, State of Karnataka and others v/s Umadevi and others.
(2) 2012 ALL SCR 8
Chief General Manager, Calcutta Telephones District v/s Surendra Nath Pandey and others.
(3) (2002) 3 SCC 146
Union of India and others v/s O. Chakradhar.
(4) (1990) 4 SCC 55
Dr.Suresh Chandra Verma and others v/s The Chancellor, Nagpur University and others.
51 In rejoinder, Mr.Manohar and Mr.Gorde have tried to distinguish the judgments relied upon by Mr.Deshpande. They have submitted that the report of the Inquiry Committee was never furnished *56* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw to the candidates and it was put up on website on 12.07.2012. Mr.Manohar has invited our attention to Ground Nos.(xiii), (xv), (xvi), (xvii)and (xix) to (xxii) and submitted that there is no reply or answer thereto. If the report of the Inquiry Committee itself was not available, then, to urge that the Chancellor considered the said report is not correct. Even otherwise, not all findings of the Inquiry Committee are accurate and correct. Alternatively, in all such matters the Honourable Supreme Court has held that the report of the Inquiry Committee, if not furnished, is not enough ground for putting an end to appointments as these inquiry committees are essentially in-house committees and there are no outsiders involved therein. If there are no outsiders involved, then, rights of parties like the Petitioners cannot be decided by such officials. If they are so decided, attempt must always be made to segregate the appointments and to save some of them, if not all of them are vitiated. The Supreme Court has followed this course in the matters where the appointments were vitiated by bribery and corruption also. Therefore, there was no necessity of interfering with the appointments after lapse of seven years. For all these reasons, they submit that this Court should consider the matter in its entirety as the question of livelihood of these Petitioners is involved. 52 With the assistance of the learned Senior Counsel and *57* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Counsel appearing for the respective parties, we have perused each of the Writ Petitions, their annexures, the impugned orders, relevant communications, documents and the affidavits placed on record. Since the report of Justice Dhabe Committee was quite bulky and lengthy and the counsel relied only on portions thereof, we have with their assistance perused that as well. We have given serious consideration to the rival contentions as we are quite aware that the challenge in the Writ Petitions is to the setting aside of 83 appointments in the PDKV. 53 What emerges from perusal of the above material is that an advertisement was issued on 14.08.2004 inviting applications in the prescribed format for filling up regular/ temporary existing vacancies and also to prepare wait-list for near future vacancies to the posts inter-alia SRA and JRA. The note below the said advertisement states about the reservation, pay scale, age limit and qualification. For JRA (Agri.), educational qualification is B.Sc. in Agricultural Faculty and for SRA, it is M.Sc. Or B.Sc. In 1st class with distinction in respective faculty or at least 2nd class B.Sc. Degree in faculty concerned with three years experience as JRA or its equivalent. The candidates fulfilling eligibility criteria were to submit their applications together with certificates so as to reach the University before the last date i.e. 15.09.2004. The application was to *58* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw accompany the attested copies of certificates regarding qualification, date of birth, caste, experience, caste validity certificate, etc., so also, xerox copies of published research publications. Other conditions prescribed and on which reliance is placed by Mr.Deshpande are as under:- "Other conditions:- (I) The candidates if appointed will have to acquire requisite knowledge of Computer Application and produce the certificate as required under Govt. Resolution dated 19th March, 2003. (II) The number of posts and reservation thereof is subject to change, it may increase or decrease. (III) The prescribed education
qualifications are minimum and mere possession of the same does not entitle candidates to be called for interview. Where number of applications received in large; the University reserves its right to short list the candidates to be called for interview by adopting appropriate method. (IV) Reservation of female candidates, physically handicapped as per the Govt. policy will be observed subject to availability of suitable candidates. (V) The applicants already in service shall submit their applications through proper channel along with No Objection Certificate (Dr.PDKV employees need not submit NOC) from present employer with advance copy which needs to be reached before closing date.
Post the application so as to reach on or before 15th September, 2004 to the Registrar, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, P Krishinagar, .O.
Akola- 444104 (Maharashtra) by registered post A/D. The applications received with incomplete information and documents and received after last date will not be considered under any circumstances. The University takes no responsibility for postal/ courier delay or for loss in transit. Canvassing in any form will disqualify the candidate."
*59* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 54 Upon this advertisement, the applications were received and it appears that the Selection Committee constituted for the purpose has selected the candidates and to whom the appointment orders were issued. 55 However, Writ Petition No.4771/2006 was filed before this Court challenging the selection of the candidates appointed as SRA and JRA and for setting aside their selection. That Writ Petition was admitted and it was clarified by this Court that the selection made by the Selection Committee shall be subject to further orders that will be passed by this Court. Therefore, after their appointment orders were issued in the month of September, 2005, each one of appointed candidates were intimated by the University of the pendency of the Writ Petition and about the order of this Court.
56 Subsequently, what the record indicates is that there was another Writ Petition No.905/2006, but both Writ Petitions came to be disposed of on 02.04.2008 by this Court by the following order:- "Heard Mr. B.G.Kulkarni, Adv. for the Petitioners, Mr.Gorde, Adv. and Mr. Patil, Adv. for the Respondent Nos. 3 and 4 and Mr.P .D.Meghe, Adv. for the Respondent Nos.21 to 41.
It is brought to the notice of this Court that the petitioners, in view of some alleged illegalities / irregularities committed by the respondent nos. 3 and 4 in the recruitment process undertaken for the purpose of *60* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw filling up the vacancies in the cadres of Junior Research Assistants as well as Senior Research Assistants, lodged complaint dt. 7.7.2006 to the Chancellor of Dr.Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola. It is also brought to the notice of this Court that Justice Dhabe Committee is constituted to consider the complaint dt.7.7.2006 lodged by the petitioners with the Chancellor as well as to look into other connected issues. It is also brought to the notice of this Court that Justice Dhabe Committee is expected to submit report to the Chancellor. However, it is brought to the notice of this Court that, till this date, the report is not submitted.
Be that as it may, on the backdrop of the above
referred facts, since the Committee headed by former Judge of this Court Justice Dhabe is considering the complaint dt. 7.7.2006 filed by the petitioners along with the other allied issues and is expected to submit report to the Chancellor soon. Hence, we do not propose to show indulgence at this stage. Consequently, the Writ Petition is disposed of accordingly. "
57 Thus, there was complaint lodged with the Chancellor of the University and he constituted a committee which is Single Member Committee comprising of Justice Dhabe (retired) to consider the complaint and make necessary inquiries and submit a report. That Committee submitted its report to the Chancellor upon which the Chancellor invited the views of the Executive Council. The Executive Council at its meeting held on 14.02.2011 under the subject agenda/ item No.16/2011 observed that the Inquiry Report has been submitted to the Chancellor to which the Chancellor has expressed certain views and these views were placed before the Executive Council and it was observed as *61* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw under:-
The Chancellor has expressed his prima facie agreement with the findings and conclusions of the Inquiry Committee. What is stated in the report are facts and they cannot be denied. However, with due respect for the Chancellor, the Executive Council stated that the Inquiry Committee took considerable time in submitting the report and during this period of 3 and ½ years, the candidates have put in service. They had executed bonds and therefore, could not take up employment elsewhere. The candidates are now over age and did not secure alternate employment. This is a cause for worry and concern. Therefore, all such candidates who have settled in their family life should not be uprooted after 5 and ½ years of the service and hence, their cases be considered sympathetically and on humanitarian ground and that is how the Executive Council requested the Chancellor to take lenient view. 58 These views were placed before the Chancellor by the Vice Chancellor's communication dated 14.02.2011 and vide his letter dated 21.05.2011 addressed to the Vice Chancellor, the Chancellor observed as under:-
"In this context, I am desired to inform you that after going through the Enquiry Report and its findings, the views of the Executive Council of the University and reports received from you in the matter, the Chancellor *62* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw has observed as under:-
(i) A large numbers of candidates were called for interview to the posts of Senior Research Assistant (SRA) and Junior Research Assistant (JRA) without following proper ratio as prescribed by the State Government. It has led to selection of undeserving and less meritorious candidates by manipulation, favoritism and other mal-practices. (ii) Although the posts of SRA and JRA belonged to two separate cadres with different pay scales, different qualifications and duties and responsibilities, the Selection Committee of the University held common interviews for the aforesaid posts. The short listing of eligible candidates for interview was avoided to increase the scope for manipulation, nepotism and corruption. (iii) The Selection Lists for the posts of SRA and JRA were not prepared or considered and approved in the meeting of the Selection Committee.
(iv) The category wise distribution of 55 posts of SRA and 76 posts of JRA have not been made according to the prescribed percentage for each of the backward classes and open category in the relevant GR.
(v) The reservation policy of the State Government was not followed by the University.
(vi) The graduates of the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University were not considered in Dr.PDKV for appointment and promotion in the posts of Junior Research Assistant.
(vii) The Selection Committee has awarded marks for Ph.D. Degree acquired, Ph.D. Thesis submitted, research papers/ popular articles published and significant contribution made after the last date of application. Hence, some candidates got illegal benefit of the marks. The Selection Committee has adopted an illegal marking system for assessment of the candidates.
(viii) Dr.V.D.Patil, Chairman of the Selection Committee and Dr.Vandan Mohod, then Registrar/ Member Secretary of the Selection Committee, on their own without any authority or power vested in them, increased the number of posts of SRA (Agril.) to be filled from 24 to 55 as advertised and the posts of JRA (Agril.) to be filled from 37 to 76 as advertised i.e. more than double the number of posts advertised. These acts on the part of Dr.V.D.Patil *63* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw and Dr.Vandan Mohod are of serious nature.
Thus, the entire selection process and selection of candidates to the posts of SRA and JRA have been vitiated by illegalities, irregularities and improprieties. The Executive Council of the University vide its Resolution No.EC/16/2011 dated 14.02.2011 has accepted the views of the Chancellor on the enquiry report of Shri Justice (Retd.) Dhabe Committee and stated that the recommendations made in the report are factual and cannot be denied. The Executive Council has, however, stated that the Enquiry Committee report was submitted after three and half years period, due to which the candidates who had service bonds of three years in the University could not apply outside for job. The candidates who have completed five and half years satisfactory services in the University deserved the consideration on humanity ground by giving protection to their services. In this context, I am directed to inform you that the aforesaid views of the Executive Council are not acceptable since the serious irregularities and illegalities have taken place in the entire selection process and recruitment of SRA and JRA in the Dr.PDKV which have been established by the Enquiry Officer in his report. Considering the above and the gravity and seriousness of the matter, the Chancellor has directed you to take immediate action in the matter on the following points and send him the compliance report thereon for his information within a period of one month:-
(1) To set aside the entire process of selection of candidates and the appointments made which is vitiated and initiate to cancel the appointments of candidates concerned after following due procedure in accordance with the law and provisions of the Act, Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations of the Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola.
(2) To fix the responsibilities against the persons responsible for committing lapses in the matter of selection and appointment of the candidates and take disciplinary action against the persons found guilty in the matter on the basis of the findings/ recommendations of the Enquiry Report after following the due procedure including *64* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Dr.V.D.Patil, Chairman of the Selection Committee and Dr.Vandan Mohad, then Registrar and Member Secretary of the Selection Committee and presently Principal, College of Agriculture, Nagpur.
(3) To consider various suggestions made by the Enquiry Officer in the enquiry report with regard to follow proper ratio, procedure of awarding marks, criteria for assessment of the candidates, short listing of candidates for interview, proper distribution of posts sanctioned, implement of reservation policy of the State Government, maintain staff position register etc. in order to avoid such irregularities and illegalities in the recruitments to various posts in the Dr.PDKV."
59 Pursuant to this communication, the Vice Chancellor acted in terms of this directive and complied with the same. The compliance was reported by letters dated 27.08.2011, 17.09.2011 and 04.11.2011. In dealing with them, the Honourable Chancellor observed as under:- "The Chancellor had received a representation dated 7th July 2006 from Dr.B.G.Bhatkal, Ex-Vice Chancellor, Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola (hereafter referred as "the University") and four others alleging illegalities and irregularities in the matter of recruitment to the posts of Senior Research Assistants/ Junior Research Assistants, in the University. In the said representation, Dr.Bhatkal and four others had stated that while making appointments of 55 Senior Research Assistants (SRA) and 76 Junior Research Assistants (JRA), the orders were issued in piecemeal so that the names could neither be known collectively nor the number of appointments to the deserving aspirants. In all, 2000 candidates were interviewed in 14 days, duration of interview of each candidate was only 3-4 minutes and there was a big fraud and cause for manipulation in the interview marks. While selecting the *65* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw candidates to the said posts no weightage was given to NET/SET candidates. Moreover, the short listing of eligible candidates for interview was not done which resulted into manipulation, nepotism and corruption. The candidates appearing for interview for the posts of SRA and JRA were not separately evaluated. The selection norms for academic evaluation and interview were flouted with complete disregard to merit. It was alleged that there were strong reasons to believe possibilities of corruption on large scale as well as nepotism. They had, therefore, requested the Chancellor to initiate an enquiry in the matter of selection and appointment process followed by the University while filling the posts of SRA and JRA in the year 2005. The Chancellor, therefore, had called a factual report from the Vice Chancellor, in the matter.
The Registrar of the University vide letters dated 07, 24 and 31st October 2006 reported that the University vide advertisement dated 14.08.2004 had invited applications for 24 posts of SRA and 37 posts of JRA. According to him, subsequent to the advertisement, the number of SRA posts were increased to 55 and JRA to 76 due to availability of vacancies on account of retirements and promotions. The Selection Committee took common interview of the candidates for SRA and JRA under different reserved categories. However, the Committee prepared separate merit list for SRA and JRA. The select list was not displayed. However, there was no ill intention for the same as there was no such practice in the University. From the selected candidates 22 were the relatives of the University's officers/ employees. The Selection Committee selected the candidates on the basis of qualification and performance in the interview and the selection was on merit. There was no error in carrying out the selection for the post of SRA and JRA by the Selection Committee.
The Director General, Maharashtra Council for Agricultural Education and Research (MCAER) as per the directives of the Hon'ble Minister for Agriculture, the Pro Chancellor of the University on the letter dated 10 September 2006 and the representation dated 7 July 2006 received from Dr.Bhatkal and others, had called a *66* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw report from the University regarding the allegations made in aforesaid letters. On receipt of the report from the University, the Director General, MCAER concluded that the University advertised 24 posts of SRA and 37 posts of JRA. However, the University filled 54 posts of SRA (30 additional posts) and 76 posts of JRA (39 additional posts). It was not clear whether the University had taken approval of the Executive Council of the University for the additional posts. Considering the large number of applications, the Selection Committee should have done the short listing. But, the Selection Committee did not do so. The selection criterion viz. 40 marks for educational qualification and experience and 60 marks for interview, adopted for the selection, is a cause for discontent and feeling of injustice in the candidates. Further, the University had conducted common interview for both the posts. Actually, it was necessary to conduct separate interview for SRA and JRA as the posts were having different responsibilities and duties. Out of selected candidates, 22 candidates were relatives of officers/ employees of the University. According to the Director General, MCAER, some allegations are partly and some are fully proved and while there was no truth in some allegations. The Director General, MCAER in his enquiry found irregularities and illegalities in the selection process. Therefore, the Chancellor felt it necessary that the matter should be thoroughly enquired into.
In the meantime, Dr.B.G.Bhatkal and others had also filed a Writ Petition No.4771 of 2006 in the Bombay High Court, Bench at Nagpur, praying the Court to give directions to the Chancellor to conduct enquiry under Section 11 of the Act. The High Court observed in its order dated 21.04.2007 that the Court hopes and expects the Chancellor to take up the matter at an earliest occasion and render his decision.
Accordingly, in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Chancellor under Section 11(1) of the Maharashtra Agricultural Universities Act 1983 (hereinafter referred as "the Act"), the Chancellor vide letter dated 28.05.2007 appointed Justice Shri H.W.Dhabe, Retired High Court Judge to conduct detailed enquiry in the matter and submit the report.
*67* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Justice Dhabe submitted his report to me on 27th
December 2010. The sum and substance of findings and conclusions made by Justice Dhabe in his report are as under:-
1) As large numbers of candidates were called for interview, without following proper ratio as prescribed by the State Government, it has led to selection of undeserving and less meritorious candidates by manipulation, favoritism and other mal- practices etc..
2) Although the posts of SRA and JRA belonged to two separate cadres with different pay scales, different qualifications and duties and responsibilities, the Selection Committee held common interviews for the said posts and vitiated the selection of the candidates as their suitability could not have been properly judged in such interviews for the said posts.
3) The criteria for assessment of the candidates for the posts of SRA/JRA were illegal.
4) The Selection Committee has awarded marks for Ph.D. Thesis submitted, research papers/ popular articles published and significant contribution made after the last date of application i.e. 15.09.2004 by resorting to illegal marking system.
5) The Selection Committee gave higher weightage to the performance in interview as compared to academic performance.
6) The procedure followed by the Selection Committee for awarding marks to the candidates for academic performance and performance in interview was illegal and invalid.
7) As per the findings of Justice Dhabe there were tinkering in mark sheets of the candidates. In some of the cases the mark sheets were not prepared in the meeting of the Selection Committee and they were also not placed before any of its meeting for its consideration and approval. 8) The Chairman and the Member Secretary of the Selection Committee on their own without any authority or power in them, increased the number of posts of SRA and JRA to be filled in.
9) Category wise distribution of 55 posts of SRA and 76 posts of JRA have not been made according to the prescribed percentage for each of the backward classes *68* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw and open category as per the relevant GRs.
10) The selection lists for the posts of SRA and JRA were not prepared or considered and approved in the meeting of the Selection Committee. There were lacunae, deficiencies, illegalities and irregularities in preparation of the selection list.
11) Though in the advertisement it was specifically provided for wait lists to be prepared for the near future vacancies, no wait lists were prepared by the Selection Committee. 12) The Selection Committee did not discharge any of its duties and responsibilities in the selection process. 13) The entire selection process and selection of candidates pursuant thereto for the posts of SRA and JRA is vitiated by bias of Dr.V.D.Patil, Chairman of the Selection Committee.
14) As per the findings of Justice Dhabe, favoritism has occurred in the process of selection to the posts of SRA and Jra.
15) The qualification of Bachelor's degree in Agriculture Engineering was introduced as an additional qualification for the post of JRA as per the addendum dated 06.09.2004 to the advertisement dated 14.08.2004 in which the posts of JRA were advertised with the qualification of Bachelor's degree in Agriculture. 16) Preparation of the minutes of various meetings of the Selection Committee were not recorded faithfully and confirmed by its other members. The proceedings/ minutes of the meetings of the Selection Committee were probably prepared after the appointment orders were issued on 16.09.2005 and 17.09.2005.
17) There were more than 2 months delay in handing over the Selection lists to the then Vice Chancellor. The reasons given by the then Vice Chancellor for the delay in not receiving the selection lists towards the end of June or July 2005 are not convincing.
18) The Reservation policy of the Government was not followed by the University. Reservations of the posts for backward classes (social/ vertical reservation) were not made according to their prescribed percentage as per the relevant G.Rs. of the State Government.
19) The graduates of the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University were not considered in the University for *69* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw appointment and promotion in the posts of JRA.
20) There were illegalities, flaws and consequential reshuffling of the Selection Lists and other infirmities in preparation of the existing selection lists of these posts of SRA and JRA. Thus, the appointments made in the posts of SRA and JRA are highly irregular.
21) The routine procedures for making appointment in the University was not followed in the appointments made to the posts of SRA and JRA.
In the report it is concluded that the entire selection process and selection of the candidates to the posts of SRA and JRA is vitiated by the illegalities, irregularities and improprieties and therefore the appointments made pursuant thereto, need to be set aside.
In compliance with the provisions of Section 11(3) of the Act, the said enquiry report was forwarded to the Vice Chancellor to place it before the Executive Council for its opinion."
60 After referring to the compliance with Section 11 and in dealing with communications of the Vice Chancellor, the Chancellor held thus:-
"The Vice Chancellor vide letter dated 27.08.2011 submitted the compliance report stating that the process of action on above cited Points No.2 and 3 has been initiated by the University.
So far as Point No.1 is concerned, the Vice Chancellor vide aforesaid letter forwarded another Resolution No.EC/38/2011 dated 22.08.2011 passed by the Executive Council under Section 11(4) of the Act reiterating its request not to cancel the appointment orders of the 83 SRAs/ JRAs who are currently in the service and to reconsider the advice of the Chancellor about action to be taken in the matter on the grounds *70* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw given in the resolution and on the following points:-
1. Hon'ble Justice (Retd.) Shri H.W.Dhabe enquired only selection process within the frame work as per term of reference given by Hon. Chancellor, however, the other aspects related to selected candidates who are in service for last six years were not covered in the report.
2. Most candidates before joining in the University as SRA and JRA have resigned their previous job and hence can not go back to previous job.
3. University has taken three years service bonds at the time of joining, hence they were deprived of job opportunities available elsewhere during this period.
4. Shri Justice (Retd.) Dhabe Committee was asked to submit the report within 2-3 months but actually submitted the report after 3-5 years. The candidates joined during 2005 have been in service for almost six years now. Due to prolonged inquiry process most of the candidates have crossed the maximum age limit for applying to fresh job and will be rendered jobless.
5. University functions in education, research, extension education, training, seed production, farm management etc. will be severely affected due to 83 sudden vacancies as result of the action.
6. Annual Assessment reports of most of the candidates show very good and outstanding grades. These candidates have successfully completed probationary period and some of them have been temporarily promoted.
7. All these candidates fulfill the minimum educational qualifications required for SRA and JRA positions. About 40 candidates have Ph.D. Degrees and rest of them hold M.Sc. Degree with about 20 candidates cleared NET examination.
8. Due to passage of almost six years of time in the job, most of them got married and have family and children with higher social responsibility. At this stage, affected candidates and their families are reportedly passing through a severe frustration and mental stress due to economic insecurity.
9. The judgments of Hon'ble High Court and Hon'ble Supreme Court are given for reference. These judgments in similar cases have been in favour of employees. *71* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw After considering the views of Executive Council and various representations received by me, the Vice Chancellor of the University was directed and authorised to give personal hearing to all 83 candidates individually with a view to give them opportunity of hearing as per the principles of natural justice. Accordingly, personal hearing was given to all 83 SRA/JRA candidates on 10, 11 and 17th October 2011. The Vice Chancellor in his report opined that out of total 83 SRA/ JRA candidates, the selection of 65 candidates is valid while that of 18 candidates is invalid. He has also submitted that the interview marks allotted by the Selection Committee is a collective wisdom.
On going through the written submissions of these 83 SRAs and JRAs made available by the Vice Chancellor, it is observed that a common plea has been taken by all the candidates that they were eligible for being selected for the post, the University has taken a bond of 3 years from them, they have been working on these posts for last 5-6 years and have completed the probation of 6 months successfully, the candidates themselves are not responsible for illegalities and improprieties in the selection process, etc..
After going through the Inquiry Report submitted
by Justice Dhabe, it is abundantly clear that the interview marks have not been awarded by the Selection Committee as a whole but only by the Chairman of the Committee Dr.V.D.Patil himself. This fact coupled with other observations in the Inquiry Report clearly indicates that interview marks were given in an arbitrary manner by the Chairman with ulterior motive.
After careful consideration of the facts and records on file as well as representations made by Dr.B.G.Bhatkal & others, the submission made by the Executive Council and the Vice Chancellor, written submissions of all 83 SRAs/ JRAs during the hearing and the findings and recommendations in the Inquiry Report, I am in agreement with the findings and conclusion made by Justice Dhabe in his Inquiry Report that the entire selection process and selection of the candidates to the posts of SRA and JRA has been vitiated by the illegalities, *72* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw irregularities and improprieties and their appointments need to be set aside. Further, I am of the view that the entire selection process has lost its sanctity and the irregularities in the process can not be rectified in any way. A lenient view solely on humanitarian grounds would be against the established principles of selection process and recruitments. The views expressed by the Vice Chancellor in his report regarding validity/ invalidity of the candidates cannot be accepted because the very selection process was void ab-initio and there is no way to find out if any selections were made on merit. The Vice Chancellor has no authority to contradict the findings and conclusions made by Justice Dhabe.
Having regard to facts and circumstances as stated above, I, K.Sankaranarayanan, Chancellor, Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola, in exercise of the powers conferred upon me under Section 11(5) of the Act hereby issue directions to the Vice Chancellor to cancel the appointments of all these 83 SRAs and JRAs who were appointed as a result of the above mentioned faulty selection process, after giving each of them one month's notice. The Vice Chancellor shall submit the compliance report within two months from the date of this order." 61 In the backdrop of above conclusions of the Chancellor, it would be advantageous to refer to some of legal provisions. The said Act is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the four Agricultural Universities in the State of Maharashtra. It has been decided to have a common law for the better governance of the four Agricultural Universities in Maharashtra and for more efficient administration and financial control and better organisation of teaching, research and extension education in those universities. It is also to reconstitute the four *73* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Agricultural Universities to provide better facilities for education in agricultural and allied matters and in particular for the development of agricultural sciences and for carrying out or undertaking such schemes or activities to help and support the Agricultural Development Programmes and extension education and such other activities of Government. The definitions are to be found in Section 2 and the words "statutes" and "regulations" are defined in Section 2(r) and the word "University" is defined in Section 2(s). Chapter II deals with Universities and Sections 3 to 11 fall in this Chapter. Section 4 states that each University shall be deemed to be established and incorporated for the purposes enumerated therein. A bare perusal of these purposes would indicate that the University is deemed to be established and incorporated for providing education in agriculture and allied sciences and humanities; furthering the advancement of learning and research in agriculture and allied sciences; undertaking and guiding extension education programmes; integrating and coordinating the teaching of subjects in the different faculties of the University; coordinating agricultural education, research and extension education activities; teaching and examining students and conferring such degrees, diplomas, as the University may deem fit, etc.. 62 Thus, the Universities, irrespective of caste, creed, race, *74* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw religion, place of birth or political or other opinion, are open for all those who are interested in learning and research in agriculture. Ultimately, the purpose of University is to impart education, but with right values and culture. It is for the object and purpose of imparting training, education and research and providing opportunities for agricultural studies, that the Universities have been established. They are, therefore, expected to be manned by efficient, excellent and expert personnel. Additionally, their character and reputation is equally relevant. The Universities for Agricultural Research and Study are meant to serve the Nation and the People as agriculture is still the main occupation in India. 63 The powers and functions of the Universities are enumerated in Section 6 and prior thereto one would find that the University is expected to make provision for giving opportunity to students from weaker sections and also by reserving seats for them. They are given several facilities and the powers and functions of the University would, as enumerated in Section 6, make absolutely clear that it is to secure appointment of talented, qualified and best persons. A institution of learning, teaching and research should be free from nepotism, favoritism, mal-administration and mal-functioning or else these powers conferred and the functions that are to be discharged would all be meaningless. *75* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Duties of the University are enumerated in Section 7 and thereafter, to enable the University to fulfill the same, one finds other provisions. Section 11 has been relied upon and it reads thus:- "11. Inspection and Inquiry:
(1) The Chancellor shall have the right to cause an inspection to be made, by such persons or persons or body of persons, as he may direct, of any University, it buildings, farm's, laboratories, libraries, museums, workshops and equipments of any college, institution or hostel maintained, administered or recognised by the University and of the teaching and other work conducted by or on behalf of the University or under its auspices of and of the conduct of examinations or other functions of the University, and to cause to inquiry to be made in like manner regarding any matter connected with the administration or finances of the University.
(2) The Chancellor shall, in every case, give due notice to the University of his intention to cause an inspection or inquiry to be made, and the University shall be entitled to appoint a representative, who shall have right to be present and to be heard at the inspection or inquiry. (3) After an inspection or inquiry has been caused to be made, the Chancellor may address the Vice-Chancellor on the result of such inspection or inquiry and the Vice- Chancellor shall communicate to the Executive Council the views of the Chancellor and call upon the Executive Council to communicate to the Chancellor through him its opinion thereon within such time as may have been specified by the Chancellor. If the Executive Council communicates its opinion within the specified time limit, after taking into consideration that opinion, or where the Executive Council fails to communicate its opinion in time, after the specified time limit is over, the Chancellor may proceed and advice the Executive Council upon the action to be taken by it, and fix a time limit for taking such action.
(4) The Executive Council shall, within the time limit so fixed, report to the Chancellor through the Vice-Chancellor the action which has been taken or is proposed to be taken on *76* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw the advice tendered by him.
(5) The Chancellor may, where action has not been taken by the Executive Council to his satisfaction within the time limit fixed, and after considering any explanation furnished or representation made by the Executive Council, issue such directions, as the Chancellor may think fit, and the Executive Council and other authority concerned shall comply with such directions.
(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in the preceding sub-sections if at any time the Chancellor is of the opinion that in any matter the affairs of the University are not managed in furtherance of the objects of the University or in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the Statutes and Regulations or that special measures are desirable to maintain the standards of University teaching, examinations, research, extension education, administration or finances, the Chancellor may indicate to the Executive Council through the Vice-Chancellor any matter in regard to which he desires an explanation and call upon the Executive Council to offer such explanation within such time as may be specified by him. If the Executive Council fails to offer any explanation within the time specified or offers an explanation which, in the opinion of the Chancellor, is not satisfactory, the Chancellor may issue such directions as appear to him to be necessary, and the Executive Council and other authority concerned shall comply with such directions. (7) The Executive Council shall furnish such information relating to the administration and finances of the University as the Chancellor may from time to time require.
(8) The executive Council shall furnish to the State Government such returns or other information with respect to the property or activities of the University as the State Government may from time to time require. " 64 On a bare perusal of sub-section (1) and other sub-sections of Section 11, we agree with Mr.Deshpande, learned Senior Counsel *77* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw appearing for the University, that these sub-sections have to be read together and harmoniously and having read so, they would indicate that the Chancellor has right to cause an inspection to be made by such person or body of persons as he may direct, of any University and its institutions and what the wide powers would indicate is that it is not just inspection of the University, its buildings, farms, laboratories, libraries, museums etc., but institution or hostel maintained, administered or recognized by the University and of the teaching and other work conducted by or on behalf of the University or under the auspices of and of the conduct of examinations or other functions of the University. The broad sweep of the power does not end here because even other institutions can be inspected as they undertake the same task which is assigned to the University. This section does not end here because it empowers the Chancellor and confers rights in him to cause an inquiry to be made in like manner regarding any matter connected with the administration or finances of the University. To urge that these further words in relation to inspection are controlled by the earlier, is to whittle down or dilute the powers and rights of the Chancellor. If this section is read together with earlier provisions and with subsequent provisions of the Act and harmoniously, it would indicate that the inquiry can be caused in like manner, but that is regarding any matter connected with administration or finances of the *78* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw University. If inspection can be caused in relation to not only the University, but its institution or hostel maintained, administered or recognized by it and teaching and other work conducted on its behalf or under its auspices and of the conduct of examinations or other functions of the University, then, to suggest that the inquiry cannot be caused covering this wide spectrum and generally with regard to the administration and finances of the University, would render the very provision and rights conferred thereby, redundant. If the powers and functions of the University as enumerated in Section 6 and preceded by its objects and purposes, are borne in mind and taken into consideration, then, the inquiry can be caused in relation to any matter connected with the administration or finances of the University. The University has to be set up and it is deemed to be established and incorporated for the purpose of fulfilling the objects set out in Section 4 and to discharge the powers and functions enumerated in Section 6. If these are matters relating to the administration of the University and all other powers and provisions are enabling the University to fulfill and achieve the objects referred above, then, to hold that the Chancellor's powers are limited or restricted, is erroneous to say the least. If sub-sections (2) to (8) of Section 11 are perused, then, the wordings thereof would throw enough light on this aspect. It is not without any significance that sub-section (3) enacts that *79* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw the Chancellor can address the Vice Chancellor on the result of the inspection or inquiry and the Vice Chancellor shall communicate to the Executive Council the views of the Chancellor and call its opinion thereon. If the inspection or inquiry was limited or restricted as suggested by Mr.Manohar and other counsel, then, it would have not been necessary for the legislature to provide for the views of the Chancellor in relation to such inspection or inquiry being placed before the Executive Council and seek opinion of the Executive Council through the Vice Chancellor. It is, thus, a very salutary power and the Chancellor is not expected to exercise it and enforce his right in routine and day to day matters. It is only when he has enough material before him to arrive at an opinion that any matter connected with administration or finances of the University warrants his intervention and requires him to step in, that he orders either inspection or inquiry or both. Therefore, the sub-sections of Section 11 assist in interpretation and construction of the words highlighted before us. The bounden duty of the Executive Council to report to the Chancellor the action which has been taken or is proposed to be taken on advise tendered by him, is a step which must be seen after compliance with sub- section (3). Sub-section (3) itself clarifies that if the Executive Council fails to communicate its opinion in time, then, after specified time is over, the Chancellor will proceed and advice the Executive Council upon the *80* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw action to be taken by it and fix a time limit for taking such action. To urge that this is merely advice, is to suggest that the Chancellor is helpless and can only advice and does not possess substantive rights. In other words, his rights are of advisory character and nature and beyond that there is nothing in it, is a suggestion difficult to accept. If there was any doubt about all this, then, sub-section (5) gives discretionary powers to the Chancellor to seek an explanation from the Executive Council and after considering any explanation submitted by the Executive Council, the Chancellor can issue such directions as he may think fit and the Executive Council and other authority concerned shall comply with such directions. Then sub section (6) comes which states that notwithstanding anything contained in the preceding sub sections, if at any time the Chancellor is of the opinion that in any matter the affairs of the University are not managed in furtherance of the objects of the University or in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the Statutes and Regulations or that special measures are desirable to maintain the standards of University teaching, examinations, research, etc., he may indicate to the Executive Council through the Vice Chancellor any matter in regard to which he desires an explanation and call upon the Executive Council to offer such explanation. He may then exercise like powers. Therefore, both sub sections (1) and (6) would indicate that there are enough powers in the *81* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Chancellor to cause an inquiry and of the nature made in the instant case. If that is not enough, then, Chapter IV which is titled "Officers of the Universities" containing Section 15 is relevant. Section 15 deals with the Chancellor, which reads thus:-
(1) The Governor of Maharashtra, shall be the Chancellor of each of the Universities.
(2) The Chancellor shall, by virtue of his Office, be the head of the University and shall, when present, preside at any convocation of the University.
(3) The Chancellor may call for his information any papers relating to the administration of the affairs of the University and such requisition shall be complied with by the University.
(4) Every proposal to confer any honorary degree shall be subject to confirmation by the Chancellor.
(5) The Chancellor may, by order in writing, annual any proceeding of any Officer or authority of the University, which is not in conformity with this Act, the Statutes of the Regulations, or which is prejudicial to the interest of the University:
Provided that, before making any such order, he shall call upon the officer or authority to show cause why such an order should not be made, and if any cause is shown within the time specified by him in this behalf, he shall consider the same.
(6) The Chancellor shall exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as are laid down by this Act. " 65 A bare perusal of Section 15 would indicate that the Chancellor can exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as are laid down by the said Act in addition to exercising the *82* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw powers expected from the Head of University. If the Chancellor has this position, status and authority, then, we are of the opinion that all suggestions with regard to the existence of power to cause an inquiry in this case can safely be turned down and all submissions in that behalf are rejected. If the standards, norms and procedures have to be followed so as to achieve highest academic excellence, then, the administration must be clean and efficient. The atmosphere has to be conducive to and must promote study and research. If there is any blemish, error and infirmity which affects the entire working or paralyses the functioning and management of the Universities or its institutions, then, the Chancellor should be able to step in.
66 This is the precise intent in conferring extensive powers in the Chancellor. We are of the view that the decisions relied upon by Mr.Manohar and other Counsel appearing for the Petitioners, as far as this aspect is concerned, will not assist them. The decision of R v M and another reported in (2009) EWCA Crim. 2615, was rendered in the context of the power that was conferred. There language of Section 40C(1)(a) of the Prison Act, 1952 fell for interpretation and there the words "brings, throws or otherwise conveys" fell for consideration and interpretation. Since the context in which the words were used was *83* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw important and if the acts were of "bringing, throwing", then, it was held that the expression "otherwise conveys" being of a "catch all" nature, must take its colour from what has gone before. Moreover, these words have to be interpreted as only one among a number of offences to be found in the Section, therefore, a catch all phrase was interpreted in the manner suggested or held by the Court of Appeal. This decision must be seen in the backdrop of the wording of the Prison Act, 1952 and particularly the Sections under consideration. Ultimately, every provision has to be interpreted in the context and backdrop of the legislation, the object and purpose in enacting the same and the nature of the duty and function envisaged thereby. If the provision conferring rights is understood and construed in this background, then, the interpretation thereof is bound to differ from statute to statute. The principles of statutory interpretation would apply and have to be applied bearing in mind these aspects. If so applied, we do not see as to how the decision relied upon by Mr.Manohar would run counter to the conclusion reached by us hereinabove.
67 The principle of ejusdem generis is also not absolute in terms. Its application would depend upon the setting and placement of the words, the context in which they are used and are appearing and *84* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw although general in nature, they may not control or amplify the later portion or words in a section or provision. Therefore, in this context one cannot forget the comments and observations of Hon'ble Mr. Justice G.P.Singh in his work "Principles of Statutory Interpretation". The learned Author in his own inimitable style opines as under:- "The rule of ejusdem generis has to be applied with care and caution. It is not an inviolable rule of law, but it is only permissible inference in the absence of an indication to the contrary, and where context and the object and mischief of the enactment do not require restricted meaning to be attached to words of general import, it becomes the duty of the courts to give those words their plain and ordinary meaning. As stated by LORD SCARMAN: "If the legislative purpose of a statute is such that a statutory series should be read ejusdem generis, so be it, the rule is helpful. But, if it is not, the rule is more likely to defeat than to fulfil the purpose of the statute. The rule like many other rules of statutory interpretation, is a useful servant but a bad master." So a narrow construction on the basis of ejusdem generis rule may have to give way to a broader construction to give effect to the intention of Parliament by adopting a purposive construction. In interpreting, section 1 of the Sunday Observance Act, 1780, which reads -- 'any house, room or other place which shall be opened or used for public entertainment on any part of Lords Day - shall be deemed a disorderly house', the Court of Queens Bench Division rejected the argument that the word 'place' should be construed ejusdem generis with the preceding words 'house' and 'room'. It was held that looking to the mischief aimed at, the intention of Parliament in the use of the word 'place' was deliberate to give it a wider meaning than the words 'house' and 'room'. This case may be compared with a decision of the House of Lords where the words 'other place' were construed ejusdem generis in the phrase 'house, office, room or other place'. The conflicting results illustrate the principle that the rule *85* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw of ejusdem generis like many other rules is merely a canon of construction which gives way to the clear intention of the Legislature."
(See judgments referred at Sr.Nos.4 to 9 on page
522 of the book "Principles of Statutory Interpretation" 13th Edition, 2012).
68 Therefore, if Section 11(1) is construed with the above principles in mind, we have no hesitation in concluding that the Chancellor's powers to cause an inquiry to be made are in no way fettered or controlled as suggested. On the other hand, the principle is too well settled, to be stated and reiterated, that even parts of a section or sub- section must be read and construed in their entirety and no word or no part of any section or sub section should be read in isolation and dehors the context. Therefore, we do not see how either the power to cause an inspection or to cause an inquiry conferred in the highest dignitary, can be said to be restrictive in nature. The wide powers have been advisedly conferred by the legislature so that the Chancellor, who is controlling and monitoring authority, can, by causing an inspection and inquiry of the matters enumerated and connected with the administration or finances of the University, suggest and take all corrective and remedial measures and steps, if they are needed to improve the working and functioning and to curb any illegal or improper activity. The Chancellor has to ensure that *86* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw there is no impediment or obstacle in the smooth administration and functioning of the Universities. All hindrances, obstacles can be removed by him so that the object and purpose of setting up and establishing the universities is achieved and fulfilled. It is in order to achieve that and to control, regulate, prohibit all such activities by which the administration and functioning of the universities and its finances is hampered, that the powers are conferred in the Chancellor. It is not as if the power is so absolute or can be exercised for the mere asking and there are enough inbuilt safeguards and checks and balances. The power is advisedly to be used to meet immediate contingencies, in extraordinary circumstances and sparingly. If all those incharge of day to day administration, management and functioning of the universities are found to be indulging in acts due to which there is complete chaos or a deadlock or there emerges a situation where the Chancellor finds total disregard of the statutory provisions and the constitutional mandate as enshrined in Articles 14, 16 or 21, then, such mal-administration and mal-functioning can be checked and even removed and this is thus a duty of all concerned including the Chancellor. Therefore, this is a power coupled with a duty. In these circumstances when the Chancellor's attention was invited to serious allegations of illegalities, corruption, mismanagement and irregularities, then, he was in no error in causing an inquiry to be made *87* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw in exercise of the powers conferred in him vide Section 11 of the said Act. 69 Now, what remains for consideration are the submissions which are commonly canvassed with regard to non compliance with the principles of natural justice. In this case the admitted facts cannot be overlooked. That there were serious allegations made and Writ Petition was filed in this Court in which it was stated that the appointments of JRA and SRA are vitiated and the entire selection is illegal being violative of the said Act and the Statutes, so also, the terms and conditions of the advertisement. The allegations have already been noted by us and that is precisely we have reproduced the portions of the order passed by the Chancellor, wherein, he records the satisfaction as far as the proof of allegations is concerned. It is not as if the Chancellor acted in undue haste or without any respect or regard for rule of law. When academicians and members of public made complaint of such nature as would warrant interference and intervention by the Chancellor, then, it is not expected that he continues to be a silent spectator. As is expected from him, he immediately constituted an Inquiry Committee and in the light of the seriousness of the allegations and status of the University and image and reputation of the institutions as a whole, that he nominated a retired Judge of this Court to inquire into the allegations. *88* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 70 The procedure adopted by the Inquiry Officer, retired Judge of this Court, has not been disputed. The retired Judge to whom inquiry was entrusted caused notices to be issued to the individual appointees. In Writ Petition No.238/2012, the averments in the said Writ Petition themselves would show as to how meticulously the Inquiry Committee issued notices, called for explanation in the form of affidavits and placed the same before the Inquiry Officer. The Inquiry Officer gave enough opportunity to the appointees to satisfy him that there have been no irregularities or illegalities in their appointments. The appointees could have furnished the necessary proofs and adequate material to support their stand and independent of the stand of the University authorities, they were called upon to do so. Therefore, there is no substance in the allegations and contentions that the principles of natural justice have been grossly violated. There is no allegation that the principles of natural justice have been violated by the Inquiry Committee. Although Mr.Manohar argued that the inquiry conducted by Justice Dhabe was like a in house inquiry and that no third parties were involved, but we do not find any such allegation in the memo of Writ Petition that he argued. In the memo of Writ Petition that Mr.Manohar argued, one would find a clear statement of fact that the Petitioners received the communications *89* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw from the University informing them of filing of Writ Petition No. 4771/2006 by Dr.B.G.Bhatkal and three others challenging their appointments. Further, in paragraph 11 of the Writ Petition it is stated that this communication informed that if the Petitioners are interested they can intervene by filing appropriate applications in the Writ Petition including requesting to be added as parties. In this very paragraph, it is stated that few Petitioners applied for intervention and justified their appointments by the Selection Committee. Thereafter, in paragraph 12 it is stated that the Petitioners received notice dated 05.09.2007 from the office of the Inquiry Officer informing them that the Inquiry Officer was appointed and that they were called to appear before the Inquiry Committee and file affidavits and documents to justify their selection and appointment. In paragraph 13 of the Writ Petition, it is stated that after receipt of this notice the Petitioners appeared before the Inquiry Officer and filed their respective affidavits to justify their selection and appointment on their respective posts of SRA and JRA. The affidavits that they were required to file and the explanations that were necessary to be furnished, have been taken on record by the Inquiry Committee. Thereafter, the Inquiry Officer issued communications to some of the Petitioners wherever and whenever additional information was required. Now, the argument that except seeking affidavits from the Petitioners, the *90* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Inquiry Officer neither informed the Petitioners about any material adverse to them nor called upon them to explain and justify the procedure adopted by the Selection Committee while making their selection, amounts to denying them an opportunity of being heard is the argument and submission, is difficult to accept. There is no prejudice that is demonstrated and it is too late in the day to complain as the inquiry was going on from 2007 and till the submission of the inquiry report in 2010, there does not appear to be any letter or communication much less any complaint in writing made by the Petitioners. One could have understood such an argument being canvassed if there was any protest lodged by the Petitioners during the course of the inquiry either before the Inquiry Officer or University. Therefore, to merely allege that the principles of natural justice were violated and breached by the Inquiry Committee, but not setting out as to in what manner, is enough to reject this submission and contention of the Petitioners. They have not demonstrated as to what was the adverse material, what steps they took to procure the material which was allegedly adverse to them and which was utilized by the Inquiry Committee to record the findings against them. We do not see any letter or correspondence seeking any inspection of record addressed by the Petitioners herein. They have not made any averment in the Writ Petition that the Inquiry Committee was made aware of their grievance or *91* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw that the University was also requested to intervene and set right any erroneous course of action by the Inquiry Committee. Thus, we find that this complaint is made by persons who were fully aware of the nature of allegations, the inquiry that was caused to be made into the same, the defence that was available to be raised and all such ancillary and incidental matters. There is absolutely no prejudice demonstrated by mere non availability of the report of the Inquiry Committee. 71 Thus, the first requirement of the principles of natural justice has been fully complied with by offering reasonable opportunity to appear and defend the selection before the Inquiry Committee. The second aspect of this is that when the Inquiry Report was forwarded and submitted to the Chancellor, he invited the comments of the Executive Council of the University, through the Vice Chancellor. The Executive Council is a body constituted of high dignitaries including the Vice Chancellor and other nominees and appointees. It is, thus, a representative body and there is no allegation in the Writ Petitions that the Executive Council was required to give any hearing to the Petitioners and comply with the principles of natural justice. The Executive Council upon receipt of the communication from the Chancellor through the Vice Chancellor, deliberated and discussed the report at its meeting held on 14.02.2011 at great length. It *92* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw has gone through the report and accorded its approval to the findings and conclusions of the Inquiry Committee. The Executive Council does not arrive at any conclusion contrary to that of the Inquiry Committee or disputed its findings or conclusions otherwise. While recording its agreement with the findings of the Inquiry Committee that the selection process is vitiated, what the Executive Council requested was that a lenient view may be taken in the matter as each of the appointees have put in more than 5 years of service, that they are well settled and established in life, that they have fulfilled their bonds and the terms and conditions thereof, that they will be uprooted in life since they are over age and have given up their employment elsewhere to take up the subject assignment.
72 Thus, this is a case where the Petitioners are picking and choosing the allegations of violation of principles of equity and fairness. They are not making any allegations against the authority and officers in the University. They would not be in position to do so either because when the opinion and recommendation of the Executive Council was placed before the Chancellor, he expressed his disagreement therewith and once again communicated to the Vice Chancellor that having accepted the Inquiry Report and conclusions recorded therein, it was *93* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw bounden duty of the University and the Vice Chancellor to implement the report. The Chancellor, therefore, directed the Vice Chancellor to comply with rule of law and principles of natural justice and forward his opinion to the Chancellor after compliance therewith. It is the own case of the Petitioners that the report was placed firstly before the Executive Council and thereafter, the Vice Chancellor was called upon to take action in accordance with law. From reading of paragraph 22 of Writ Petition No. 238/2012, it seems that the Petitioners were aware of all happenings and events. They make guarded statements and are careful not to divulge details. They are fully aware of the fact that the Vice Chancellor has, in pursuance of the directives of the Chancellor, initiated a departmental inquiry against persons who were members of the Selection Committee, who carried out selection process relating to the appointments of the Petitioners and also placed them under suspension. The Petitioners are aware that such inquiry is pending. Not only this, the Petitioners seem to be completely aware of the allegations levelled and charges framed against the members of the Selection Committee. Therefore, we are in agreement with Mr.Deshpande that this is a merely a bogey raised by the Petitioners to stall the inevitable. They were aware of the fact that the selection process was under scrutiny. The attack was on the entire selection process inasmuch as it was labeled as vitiated by serious *94* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw illegalities and irregularities committed by those incharge of selection and some others who were bent upon reaping benefits for themselves and their near and dear ones. This being the nature of attack and whole gamut of selection from the point of issuance of advertisement till the appointment order was being subjected to severe test and scrutiny, then, it is futile to urge that individuals have been prejudiced because they were not heard. That apart we find no substance in these allegations because from the record it is clear that individual appointees had been given opportunity to justify their selection and appointment including producing proof of their eligibility.
73 To complete narration of facts as would emerge from the petition itself, it is apparent from reading of paragraph 23 that the Petitioners were served with communication dated 03.10.2011 calling upon them to appear before the Vice Chancellor for personal hearing regarding their selection/ nomination as SRA/ JRA, on the date, time and venue mentioned in the communication. The Petitioners are aware that during personal hearing they are required to submit brief statements regarding their selection. After receipt of the communication, the Petitioners themselves approached the office of the Vice Chancellor inquiring about details which they are expected to mention in the *95* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw statements. The Petitioners were informed that the format in which the statements are to be made was posted on the official website of the University and that they were expected to give brief statement. The Petitioners filled up the format and submitted the same. Therefore, to state that the Petitioners were never called upon to dispute the observations and findings in the report of the Inquiry Committee or to meet the contents thereof, is nothing but an afterthought. With all this the Petitioners were expected to lodge their protest, but it appears from the record that they remained present on the date, time and venue and they appeared before the Vice Chancellor and reiterated the contents of their written version as stated in the format. They urged that their appointments cannot be said to be illegal. They pointed out the hardship. It is apparent that the Petitioners were well advised and had benefit of legal assistance because they carried with them the judgments of the Honourable Supreme Court and this Court in support of their stand that their services should be protected. Far from any protest being voiced, this is a clear case of submission to the authority of the Vice Chancellor and his power to proceed against them and in the manner thought fit by the Vice Chancellor. Now to urge that they had no opportunity to peruse the report of the inquiry committee and the Vice Chancellor just complied with the directives of the Chancellor and conducted a hearing, which was *96* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw a farce, is nothing but making unsubstantiated allegations even against a high dignitary such as the Vice Chancellor who appeared to be throughout sympathetic to the Petitioners.
74 In paragraph 25 of the Writ Petition No.238/2012, the Petitioners have gone ahead to term the hearing as eyewash. One would have expected them not to remain silent and accept everything without protest, as they appeared to be advised throughout by competent legal advisors. Therefore, to now urge that they had no opportunity of hearing or placing their version, is irresponsible to say the least. It is also disrespectful on their part because they are making such serious allegations by terming the hearing before the Vice Chancellor as an eyewash. Therefore, in the absence of any prejudice such allegations cannot be accepted. In fact the Vice Chancellor was found to be upholding the cause of the Petitioners and as rightly observed by the Chancellor, tried to sit in judgment over the findings and conclusions of the Inquiry Committee. Once the Petitioners make the above noted allegations even against the Vice Chancellor, then, their casual and light hearted attitude and manner is fully demonstrated.
75 We are of the opinion that the Chancellor after the above *97* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw exercise was not required to give any personal hearing to the Petitioners before us. We have reproduced the important portions and parts of the impugned order only to highlight that the Chancellor called upon the University to comply with the rule of law and his direction accords with the principles of natural justice. It was not expected of him to himself hold a hearing in his office by calling upon individual appointees to justify their selection and appointment. He was fully aware that the appointees are working at Nagpur, that the University is their appointing authority, that the University has caused their selection to be made and that it is the University which is their disciplinary authority. Therefore, his direction to the Vice Chancellor to put an end to the appointments in accordance with law, was enough compliance with the principles of natural justice in the facts and circumstances of this case. We are of the opinion that nothing more than this was required to be done in the peculiar facts of this case. Once the Chancellor was of the opinion that the Executive Council and the Vice Chancellor could not have refused to act on the conclusions and findings in the Inquiry Committee's report, then, he did not violate any rule of law or the principles of natural justice by not hearing the Petitioners himself and instead calling upon the Vice Chancellor to act in accordance with law. If the selection process and appointments as a result thereof, were found to be vitiated and the Chancellor was not in *98* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw agreement with the views of the Executive Council and the Vice Chancellor that lenient view may be taken, then, he could have heard the Petitioners himself but by not doing so he has not violated any provision of law nor the principles of natural justice. It is not the argument of Mr.Manohar and Mr.Gorde that there is any requirement of oral hearing to be given to parties like the Petitioners, while carrying out the exercise contemplated in Section 11 of the said Act. It is urged that the Civil Services Rules apply to the Petitioners and that required a personal hearing to be given before termination. To equate the exercise of powers by the Chancellor with a inquiry under the Conduct and Discipline Rules against an individual officer is to over simplify the case and equally to render the provisions like Section 11 wholly redundant and nugatory. The Chancellor is expected to take into confidence and consider the views of highly placed academic bodies and officials like the Executive Council and the Vice Chancellor as they represent the staff and officials of the University. Thus, he committed no error in directing the Vice Chancellor to act in accordance with law and that postulated compliance with the principles of natural justice. If the Petitioners were throughout aware of the views of the Chancellor as reflected in his opinion and communications, then, it was but fair for the Chancellor to have given them a final opportunity to show cause against the punishment or penalty. *99* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw That he gave such an opportunity through the Vice Chancellor, was even more justified and is equitable and fair considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case. Without any broad principle of law being laid down, but going by facts and circumstances of the present case, we are of the view that the Chancellor was not required to give a personal hearing to the Petitioners. There cannot be charge of violation of the principles of natural justice against the Chancellor. The Chancellor has utilised the powers conferred in him responsibly. Merely because he was of the firm opinion that no leniency or mercy can be shown to individual appointees when the entire selection process is vitiated, does not mean that he acted unfairly, unjustly or inequitably.
76 The argument before us is that the hearing by Chancellor was necessary because the Vice Chancellor had forwarded his remarks and opinion in which he pointed out to the Chancellor that not all appointments were illegal and irregular. There were 65 persons whose appointments can be said to be legal and valid and only 18 can be termed as illegal and tainted. Once such was the opinion and recommendation of the Vice Chancellor, then, in rejecting the same, the Chancellor was required to give a hearing to the Petitioners, is the submission before us. What this submission overlooks is that the Vice Chancellor has given such *100* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw opinion and recommendation even though he was fully aware of the views of the Executive Council. The Executive Council, in this case, in its meeting held on 14.02.2011 clearly expressed that what has been stated about the entire selection process and that being wholly vitiated, is a fact which cannot be disputed. The Executive Council expressed its agreement with the views of the Inquiry Committee and also with the views of the Chancellor with regard to the conclusions in the report of the Inquiry Committee. Now, the Chairman of this Executive Council and particularly on the day of meeting thereof, is the Vice Chancellor himself. The Chancellor finds that despite such views of the Executive Council, the request of the Executive Council was to take a lenient and humanitarian view. That recommendation and opinion of the Executive Council was not accepted by the Chancellor because he scrutinized the matter and viewed it in larger perspective. The Chancellor was of the view that when the gross illegalities and irregularities were noticed, pointed out and writ large in the selection process as a whole, then, not to end the appointment would be making mockery of the selection process and that would not be in the interest of the University leave alone subserving public interest. It is not in dispute that the Chancellor was well within his rights to disagree with the recommendations of the Executive Council and therefore, he did not take any note of the same and instead directed the *101* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Vice Chancellor to act in accordance with law before putting an end to the appointments of the Petitioners. After receipt of such communications and directives from the Chancellor, it was not expected of the Vice Chancellor to undertake an exercise of scrutiny of the findings and conclusions in the Inquiry Committee's report leave alone an analysis thereof. That the Vice Chancellor undertook such an exercise all by himself and attempted segregation or separation of the appointments, by no means creates a right in favour of the Petitioners to insist on a personal hearing by the Chancellor merely because the Chancellor expressed his displeasure over the course adopted by the Vice Chancellor. In other words, the Petitioners expect the Chancellor to hear them because he was in disagreement with the views of the Vice Chancellor and has decided to overturn them. Once we find that the course that was adopted by the Vice Chancellor was wholly unjustified and uncalled for in the given facts and circumstances, then, such course does not create any vested right in favour of the Petitioners to insist on a personal hearing by the Chancellor. The matter was squarely between the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor. The Vice Chancellor was expected to act in accordance with the directives and law and give an opportunity to the Petitioners before the final orders are passed. That opportunity having been given by the Vice Chancellor and thereafter, he forwarded his views and recommendations to the *102* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Chancellor, does not mean that a second round of hearing was required to be held or was necessary in the facts of this case. 77 That apart, one finds nothing in favour of the Petitioners in the recommendations or views of the Vice Chancellor. The Vice Chancellor seems to have lost sight of the fact that the entire selection process was held to be vitiated as observed by the Inquiry Committee. If the Chancellor feels that sanctity of whole selection process is lost, then, the Vice Chancellor's views were not binding upon the Chancellor. The Chancellor had not directed the Vice Chancellor to forward his views and recommendations on the findings and conclusions of the Inquiry Committee. The Chancellor had not directed the Vice Chancellor to hold a de-novo inquiry and scrutinize the entire selection process and find out which appointment could be saved and which could be said to be vitiated or termed as illegal. If the Vice Chancellor did this on his own and not because he was directed to do so by the Chancellor, then, that exercise of the Vice Chancellor does not create any right in favour of the Petitioners nor does it furnish a ground to the Petitioners to complain about lack of opportunity of personal hearing by the Chancellor. 78 A perusal of the letter dated 21.05.2011 of the Chancellor *103* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw would indicate that he directed the Vice Chancellor to set aside the entire process of selection and cancel the appointments, to fix responsibility against the persons responsible for committing lapses and to take into consideration various suggestions made in the report of the Inquiry Committee. The Vice Chancellor was expected to comply with these directives. Instead, he exceeded his brief and undertook an exercise which was most uncalled for and one can safely say that the Vice Chancellor acted contrary to the directives of the Chancellor. If the last paragraph of the letter dated 21.05.2011 is perused, it would be apparent that the Chancellor observed that gravity and seriousness of the matter requires the Vice Chancellor to take immediate action on the point Nos.1, 2 and 3. The first point was to set aside the entire selection and appointments of the candidates concerned after following due process of law, namely, the Act, Statutes and Regulations. How this could be construed as a power conferred in the Vice Chancellor to go behind the findings and conclusions of the Inquiry Committee or to sit in judgment over them, has not been explained to us and clarified at all.
79 We are, therefore, of the firm opinion that the Vice Chancellor having acted beyond the directives of the Chancellor as he was to comply therewith unconditionally, that by itself will not mean that the *104* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Chancellor was required to grant personal hearing to the Petitioners while disagreeing with the views of the Vice Chancellor as the Vice Chancellor's views and opinion being not binding on the Chancellor. Thus, the Chancellor was not required to give any personal hearing to the Petitioners while disagreeing with them. If we hold that prior to passing of the final order the Chancellor was required to hear the Petitioners once again, that would mean that although the facts are undisputed and although no prejudice is demonstrated, we agree with the submissions of the Petitioners. This would mean second round or second opportunity being made available to the Petitioners to show cause against the findings and conclusions in the Inquiry Committee's report. That would mean reopening of the matter in its entirety which was not permissible and feasible in the peculiar facts of this case. This could be equated with an opportunity to show cause against the proposed punishment as is available in service jurisprudence. Those principles cannot be imported into the exercise that has been undertaken in the facts and circumstances of this case. That apart, the Petitioners are seeking to derive benefits of segregation and distinction made by the Vice Chancellor and particularly tainted and untainted appointments. Once we are of the view that the Vice Chancellor could not have undertaken an exercise of such segregation and separation, then, this act of the Vice Chancellor or his *105* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw opinion in that regard cannot create any right in favour of the Petitioners to insist on a personal hearing. To allow them to appear for such hearing would have resulted in re-scrutiny and re-verification of their appointments and process in relation thereto. That was not permissible nor advisable in the given facts and circumstances of the case. That apart, all this would reduce the Chancellor to a mere disciplinary authority of the Petitioners. He is much more than an ordinary appointing and disciplinary authority. He is, as set out in Section 15 of the said Act, the head of the University.
80 We are in agreement with Mr.Deshpande that if the selection process itself was under scrutiny and that was found to have lost its total sanctity, then, individuals cannot stretch their case to such an extent so as to give them an opportunity to plead their innocence or their non involvement therein. Therefore, once we conclude that segregation and separation does not confer any right to insist on a personal hearing by the Chancellor, then, not giving such opportunity is neither fatal nor has resulted in any prejudice to the Petitioners. Even otherwise, what the Petitioners could have demonstrated at such hearing is that their appointments are not tainted and they are blemishless. At the most they could have pointed out their hardship as they are aware of the proven *106* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw case of large scale improprieties and illegalities in their appointments. Once they were so aware and all that they could have placed before the Chancellor was the hardship caused to them, then, the Chancellor has not committed any illegality by not giving such opportunity of personal hearing to the Petitioners. This is not a case where the opinion of the Chancellor that the selection process was void ab-initio and therefore, there is no way to find out which selection is made on merit and valid and which was not, is an impossible view or was not probable at all. That view is consistent with the material that was placed before the Chancellor and can in no way be termed as irrational, unreasonable, unfair, leave alone illegal. Once we cannot sit in judgment over such views of the Chancellor who is the sole judge of the academic matters of the present nature, then, we cannot accede to the submissions of Mr.Manohar and other counsel that the principles of natural justice have been violated. In the absence of any serious prejudice, not affording personal hearing by the Chancellor will not vitiate his final order in any manner. The Chancellor's final conclusion is also based on the Inquiry Report and cannot be termed as based on no material at all.
81 Thus, the above were the principal contentions which have been raised before us and having dealt with them and finding no merit *107* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw therein, the Writ Petitions must fail.
82 However, one point has been very seriously canvassed before us by Mr.Manohar and other counsel and that is even if the Chancellor has not permitted or undertaken any exercise of segregation and separation of the appointments by categorizing them as tainted and untainted, we must undertake that exercise and rather we are obliged to undertake it in law. The premise on which this argument is made is that there are serious hardships involved. The Dhabe Committee has taken 3 and ½ years to submit the report. More than 5 years have lapsed from the date of appointment and some of the Petitioners have been promoted in service. They are well settled in life and well established and they will face financial crisis if they are out of employment and they will not get any employment elsewhere having crossed the prescribed age limit. It is, therefore, vehemently contended that this Court must undertake such an exercise. In this behalf, Mr.Manohar relies upon the judgment of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Girjesh Shrivastava and others v/s State of Madhya Pradesh and others, reported in (2010) 10 SCC 707. 83 Firstly, it must be understood that what was before the Supreme Court was a judgment rendered in a Public Interest Litigation by *108* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Therein, the appointments made as teachers (Samvida Shala Shikshak) were challenged in two PILs on the ground of contravention of rules and no proper advertisement for reservation for ex-serviceman. In such PILs the allegations were also that the members of Selection Committee had their near relatives appearing as candidates for selection. Upon such PILs, the High Court held that there is contravention of the provisions of 10% reservation. Hence, in one Writ Petition the High Court while allowing it ordered cancellation of the appointments on the ground that the appointments were illegal as members of Selection Committee allowed their near relatives to appear in the process and further held that on the basis of the inquiry conducted by the District Collector, show cause notices were issued to three members of the Selection Committee asking them as to why their relatives were appeared as candidates. In the second Writ Petition, the High Court did not strike down the selection on this ground, instead the High Court invalidated the selection only for being in violation of a Rule which mandated a reservation of 10% for ex-serviceman.
84 It is aggrieved by such decision of the High Court that some of the successful candidates and who were not impleaded in either of the Writ Petitions filed Review Petitions seeking review of the judgment in *109* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw PILs. Those Review Petitions were dismissed by the High Court giving rise to the Special Leave Petitions before the Honourable Supreme Court. Apart from non joinder of necessary parties, there were other submissions canvassed before the Honourable Supreme Court. It is in this context the Supreme Court reiterated the principle that in service jurisprudence PIL is not permissible and therefore, review petitions should not have been dismissed and secondly and more importantly the Supreme Court held that from the facts narrated in the PILs the alleged participation of near relatives in selection process was not a such factor as to vitiate the entire selection process. Even if there were some illegal beneficiaries in the selection process, they should have been weeded out instead of striking down the entire selection process. That is the view taken by the Honourable Supreme Court in the light of the abovenoted facts. 85 The Counsel appearing before us, therefore, urged that there is a mandate flowing from this and prior judgments that we must scrutinize the matter in such a manner so as to find out, whether, the selection process was vitiated as a whole and by what cause and thereafter, we should segregate the appointments into valid or invalid, legal or illegal and tainted or untainted. We are unable to accept these submissions. With respect, we do not read the judgment of the *110* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Honourable Supreme Court as issuing any mandate of the nature urged by the parties and the Counsel before us.
86 Paragraph 26 of the judgment in Girjesh Shrivastava (supra) would indicate that the facts were predominant for the exercise that has been undertaken in that case by the Honourable Supreme Court. Therefore, the Supreme Court referred to the earlier decision in Charanjit Singh v/s Harinder Sharma reported in (2002) 9 SCC 732 and held that the selection process should not be interfered with by the High Court, but merely because some of the candidates in the selection process happened to be relatives of the members of the Selection Committee, that did not mean that all candidates were relatives of the members of Selection Committee and had been illegally selected. Therefore, all appointments ought not to have been set aside.
87 Even in the case of Union of India v/s Rajesh P .U.,
Puthuvalnikathu reported in (2003) 7 SCC 285, the Supreme Court held that in the absence of any specific or categorical finding supported by any concrete and relevant material that widespread infirmities of an all- pervasive nature, which could be really said to have undermined the very process itself in its entirety or as a whole and it was impossible to weed *111* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw out the beneficiaries of one or other of irregularities or illegalities, there was no justification to deny appointment to other selected candidates whose selections were not found to be vitiated for any other reason. A perusal of paragraph 28 of the judgment in Girjesh Shrivastava (supra), would indicate that the observations in Union of India v/s Rajesh P.U. (supra) quoted therein offer a guide in such cases. If there is specific or categoric finding supported by concrete and relevant material that widespread infirmities of all-pervasive nature undermining the selection process have been committed and that vitiated the process as a whole and it is impossible to weed out the beneficiaries of other irregularities or illegalities, then, there is justification to strike down the process and deny appointments.
88 We have reproduced the portions of the order of the Chancellor in this case wherein not once but twice the Chancellor has reiterated the conclusions in the report of Justice Dhabe Committee. The findings and conclusions therein show such large scale and gross illegalities right from inception, that it is impossible to find out as to which appointment was a result of illegality or irregularity and which was not. In cases of SRA and JRA, the Chancellor has found that the process as a whole was vitiated by illegalities and irregularities. They were of such *112* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw nature that all appointments are questionable as the selection itself is not fair and transparent. We do not see as to how the exercise as desired by Mr.Manohar can be undertaken by us merely because the Petitioners would be out of service and rendered unemployed after a lapse of six years. We agree with Mr.Deshpande that humanitarian approach and undue sympathy being shown will put a premium on the illegalities and a deterrent action or approach then can never be upheld. If teachers and researchers are appointed by questionable and doubtful methods, by corrupt means, then, Universities will hardly remain Temples of learning and a place for research. Instead, such teachers and researchers may perpetuate the illegalities further and then the students and whole host of others would be encouraged to do so. This spells doom for the future. Academicians are respected not only for their erudition, efficiency, excellence and expertise, but equally for their morals and character. This expectation has to be fulfilled by them in public interest as they hold a public post and perform public duty.
89 Reliance is also placed very strongly on a judgment in the case of Inderpreet Singh Kahlon and others v/s State of Punjab and others, reported in (2006) 11 SCC 356. Mr.Manohar urges that in this judgment the Honourable Supreme Court has undertaken this exercise even when *113* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw the appointments were found to be vitiated by bribery and corruption. It is submitted that the findings were of identical nature and the Inquiry Committee concluded that none of appointments can be saved, yet the Supreme Court relied upon the above principle.
90 In Inderpreet Singh Kahlon (supra), what the Supreme Court had before it were cases of selections by Public Service Commission during the tenure of one Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, Chairman of Public Service Commission. The allegations were made against him that he got large number of persons appointed on extraneous considerations. The appointments were made during the period 1998 to 2001. Raids were conducted in his house on more than one occasion. A large sum of money (about Rs.16 crores) was recovered from his custody and other relatives. FIRs were lodged against him in that behalf. Nine officers were named in the FIRs, out of which allegations against two of them were withdrawn. As against 63 officers involved, FIR was lodged only against one. Result sheets and answer sheets were seized. The Vigilance Bureau wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary, Punjab alleging that most of the examinations held during the tenure of Sidhu were tainted. The Vigilance Department's report was received, but on that date itself the nominated candidates were given charge of the Executive Magistrate. However, on the very next *114* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw date, the Vigilance Bureau sent a note to the Chief Secretary whereupon the orders of termination were passed on 23.05.2002. All officers in the category of nominated Executive Officers were about to complete their probation. It is in these circumstances that four categories of officers were before the Supreme Court as they were aggrieved by the termination of services as judicial officers and upholding of those orders of dismissal by the High Court. The main contentions raised were as under:- "19. The main contentions raised on behalf of the writ petitioners before the High Court were:
(1) in terminating the services, the State committed gross violation of the provisions of Article 14, 21 and 311 of the Constitution of India;
(2) principles of natural justice were completely given a go-by by the State in passing the impugned orders of termination;
(3) some of the Appellants having successfully completed three years of probation, they would be deemed to have been confirmed in terms of Rule 23 of the 1976 Rules and, thus, their services could not have been terminated without holding regular inquiry in terms of Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970 (for short, 'the 1970 Rules');
(4) in any event, Rule 23 of the 1970 Rules could not have been invoked for dispensing with the services of such of the Appellants as it had not been shown that their work, conduct and performance were unsatisfactory during the period of probation;
(5) no proper material by way of admissible evidence having been made available, on the basis whereof the State could form a bona fide opinion that the entire selection processes were tainted, the impugned orders of termination must be held to be bad in law.
20. The contentions raised on behalf of the State, on the other hand, were that:
*115* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw (1) Shri Sidhu during his tenure from September, 1996 to 26.03.2002 exercised the powers of the Commission himself to the exclusion of all other members, which itself establishes that the selection processes were bad in law.
(2) Writ petitions were filed by the members of the State Commission contending that Shri Sidhu had manipulated the system for ensuring the selection of only those who had paid money or had recommendations of the high authorities.
(3) The satisfaction of the State was based upon the report of the Vigilance Bureau which included the statements made by Shri Jagman Singh which clearly pointed to the guilt of Shri Sidhu as he had disclosed that that Shri Sidhu had made a large number of appointments of the prospective candidates and during investigation it was revealed that question papers and answer scripts were smuggled out of the headquarters of the Commission and at times, blank answer sheets had been handed over to the candidates and special instructions had also been issued to the examiners to award higher marks to the less meritorious candidates and at the same time, award less marks to the more meritorious candidates. (4) Shri Sindhu amassed assets worth Rs. 22 crores during his chairmanship by adopting illegal means.
(5) The entire selection process was completely vitiated and it was not possible to separate the meritorious candidates from the others although the decision to terminate all the appointments and cancellation of all the examinations was fair and bona fide.
21. The contentions raised on behalf of the High Court were that:
(1) The services of the judicial officers were terminated as it came to light that the recommendations made during the tenure of Shri Sidhu were manipulated, unfair and vitiated in law.
(2) Two sub-committees were constituted to look into the illegalities and irregularities committed by the Commission in the matter of selection of the judicial officers and the reports submitted by them were rightly accepted by the Full Court, pursuant to and in *116* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw furtherance whereof the State Government terminated their services.
22. The High Court in passing the impugned judgment considered the aforementioned submissions of the parties. It noticed a large number of decisions and opined that the following propositions be culled out therefrom:
"(i) The rules of natural justice are not required to be followed in cases of cancellation of selection which is vitiated due to fraud, manipulation, corruption or large scale irregularities and illegalities committed by those responsible for conducting the selection.
(ii) Even if some deserving candidates suffer on account of cancellation of such selection, the decision taken by the competent authority cannot be castigated as arbitrary or unreasonable.
(iii) The Court cannot sustain the selection of some persons where the process of selection is vitiated due to manipulations, fraud etc. and it is in public interest that the entire selection is nullified.
(iv) The court cannot sit in appeal over the decision of the competent authority. If some tangible material is available with the government for forming an opinion that the selection is tainted, the court cannot interfere with its decision."
23. The Full Bench of the High Court, however, did not make any endeavour to make any distinction between the cases of different categories of officers, but relying on or on the basis of the reports and documents submitted by the Vigilance Bureau opined that the same revealed the following features:
(a) Either question papers were leaked to the candidates or instructions were given to the examiners to give higher marks.
(b) In some cases, the marks awarded to the candidates were manipulated and upgraded.
(c) The result-sheets recovered from the Commission revealed that most of the candidates who paid money had been given very high marks in the interview.
(d) Those candidates who secured high marks in the written examination were given poor marks in the interview *117* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw either because they were not to be selected and they had not paid money or for shunting them to the Allied Services.
(e) The procedure for appointment of examiners was entirely controlled by Shri Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu and he gave instructions for award of specific marks to the chosen candidates.
(f) Some of the irregularities found in the answer- books of some of the candidates selected for direct recruitment were taken into consideration by the High Court by way of illustration in arriving at its findings.
24. The High Court moreover pointed out some irregularities found in the answer sheets of the some of the candidates in regard whereto 13 purported instances were noticed by it. Cases of some of the candidates who were denied selection to PCS (EB) by giving unusually low marks in the interview were highlighted in the judgment. As many as nine such cases were noticed to have been belonging to this category of irregularities. The High Court furthermore noticed the purported irregularities in the recruitments made for appointment to PCS (Judicial Branch) from the written submissions made by the State in respect whereof, cases of 10 candidates had specifically been noticed. So far as the purported similarity in grant of marks in the interview is concerned, the High Court noticed that out of the 263 candidates interviewed for selection for direct recruitment to PCS (Executive Branch) and Allied Services, 172 candidates were given identical marks by the interviewers. 230 candidates had obtained marks having difference of one mark and 58 candidates having difference of two marks. So far as the nominated candidates are concerned, the High Court noticed that no allegation could be made as regards the irregularities and illegalities in conducting the written examination, but opined:
"(1) In Register A-1 and Register C (year 1996) pertaining to nominated candidates, there is 100% identity for both selectees and non-selectees. In case of Register A-2 for year 1994, there is 100% identity in case of award of marks to 3 selectees. Considering the overall position of 18 selectees, there is a difference of 1 mark of 1 out of 3 *118* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw interviewers in the marks of one candidate. Thus, same number of marks were awarded to more than 95% candidates.
(2) Even if all the 141 nominated candidates are considered there is a difference of 1 mark in 22 out of 25 cases. Larger difference is found only in 3 cases. Then in 9 cases only one interviewer differs by 1 mark and in 1 case one interviewer differs by 2 marks. This again indicates an unusual pattern showing pre-planning and manipulation. Here also, same number of marks were awarded to more than 98% candidates."
It furthermore noticed certain general features in respect of the marks given at the viva-voce to the other candidates.
25. The judgment of the High Court can be divided into two parts:
(A) The High Court in general opined:
"From the above discussion and examination of the aforesaid illustrative cases and looking into the record including the statements of the alleged touts as made in court under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, there is no manner of doubt that it is not in a few cases only that corrupt means were adopted to secure the selection of candidates but the same modus operandi was being adopted in all the selections which vitiated the entire process of selections and that large scale corruption, irregularities, manipulation of marks and other illegalities are writ large in making selections by the Commission during the tenure of Shri Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu. We have perused the statements of the alleged touts who have given the details of the modus operandi adopted by Shri Sidhu. The examiners were instructed to award specific number of marks to the chosen candidates and pull down the others which resulted in the ouster of many meritorious candidates. In some cases, question papers were given to the candidates one evening before the examination. There has been manipulation of marks in large number of cases to ensure the selection of favoured candidates at the cost of other meritorious candidates. The entire selection process during the tenure *119* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw of Shri Sidhu was indeed a one-man show. He appointed the examiners of his confidence who were playing to his tunes and whom he could trust in carrying out his nefarious plans. He could, indeed, get any one selected who could approach him either though money or through "Sifarish". It is difficult to say if one could be selected on merit during the tenure of Shri Sidhu and may be some were selected on merit as well but the whole process of selection having been polluted with corruption, it is not possible to identify them. The statements as made by the alleged touts were cross checked by the Vigilance Department and the government and it was found that corruption was all pervasive in the selection of candidates to different services during the tenure of Shri Sidhu." (B) In regard to the Judicial Officers, it was opined: "In the case of selection of PCS Judicial Officers, the High Court on its administrative side had also examined the records including the answer sheets and noticed that the answer sheets of some of the non-selected candidates were qualitatively better than those selected and that the performance of most of the selected candidates was below average and that the marks given to them were disproportionate to their answers which even by the most liberal standards could not be justified. The High Court also found that there had been large scale tampering of marks in some of the answer sheets and that selections had not been made on merit.
During the course of arguments, the record was produced before us including the answer sheets. We perused quite a few of them and found that the irregularities as pointed out in the earlier part of the judgment are there. Some of the answer sheets show that there are interpolations with the marks originally allotted by the examiners and this was obviously done with a view to ensure the selection of those candidates. The State Government was, therefore, justified in cancelling the selections in entirety and no fault can be found with its decision in this regard because in these circumstances grain could not be separated from the chaff and the meritorious candidates had also to suffer.""
*120* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw 91 It is in this backdrop that the Honourable Supreme Court considered the submissions canvassed and noted in paragraph 27 onwards and while dealing with them, held thus:-
"40. We at the outset would furthermore notice that having regard the submissions made before us by Mr. Dwivedi and Mr. Rao that the services of the appellants before us were terminated not in terms of the Rules but in view of the commission of illegality in the selection process involved, we need not consider the applicability of the relevant provisions of the statutes as also the effect of the provisions of Article 311 of the Constitution of India. An appointment made in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India would be void. It would be a nullity. [See Secretary, State of Karnataka and Others v. Umadevi and Others, (2006) 4 SCC 1 : (2006) 4 Scale 247]. But before such a finding can be arrived at the appointing authority must take into consideration the foundational facts. Only when such foundational facts are established, the legal principles can be applied.
41. If the services of the appointees who had put in few years of service were terminated; compliance of three principles at the hands of the State was imperative, viz., (1) to establish satisfaction in regard to the sufficiency of the materials collected so as to enable the State to arrive at its satisfaction that the selection process was tainted; (2) to determine the question that the illegalities committed go to the root of the matter which vitiate the entire selection process. Such satisfaction as also the sufficiency of materials were required to be gathered by reason of a thorough investigation in a fair and transparent manner; (3) whether the sufficient material present enabled the State to arrive at satisfaction that the officers in majority have been found to be part of the fraudulent purpose or the system itself was corrupt.
42. Once such findings were arrived at, all appointments *121* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw traceable to the officers concerned could be cancelled. But admittedly, although there had been serious imputations against Shri Sidhu being at the helm of the affairs of the Commission, all decisions made by the Commission during his tenure are yet to be set aside. We do not intend to enter into the said controversy as we were informed at the bar that the High Court itself is in seisin of the matter. We may, however, note that Mr. Dwivedi in his usual frankness stated that there may not be any answer to that query.
43. Apart from inferences drawn on certain facts and in particular the circumstances enumerated by the High Court which have been repeated by the learned counsel for the State before us, it is difficult to accept that it was demonstrated by the State that it was absolutely impossible for it to separate the innocent people from the tainted ones.
44. It is also not a case where all the relevant records have been destroyed. The Vigilance Bureau does not say so. Questions papers, answer sheets and other documents are available. Reports made by the Bureau were prepared upon examination of the materials collected by it. The High Court itself has noticed that what is not available is the records relating to the procedure adopted in regard to the appointment of paper setters. It may be true that such records could be destroyed only after a period of five years but it has not been pointed out by the State as to how by reason of the non- availability thereof, it became difficult for the authorities to arrive at the correct facts. We have not been informed that connecting materials were also destroyed. It has been noticed by the High Court that all relevant information were available and submitted to the court. It cannot, therefore, be said that a fair investigation into the whole affair was an impossible task or despite availability of all such records a thorough investigation had been made so as to arrive at a satisfaction that the entire selection process suffered from a large scale fraud. It was also not been found that all appointments were made on extraneous considerations including monetary consideration.
45. If fraud in the selection process was established, the State should not have offered to hold a re-selection. Seniority of those who were re-selected ordinarily could not have been restored in their favour. Such an offer was evidently made as the State was not sure about the involvement of a large number of employees.
46. A distinction moreover exists between a proven case of mass cheating for a board examination and an unproven imputed charge of corruption where the appointment of a civil servant is involved."
92 In the peculiar facts and circumstances the Honourable Supreme Court, therefore, undertook the exercise which the Petitioners desire us to undertake.
93 We are not in agreement with the Counsel appearing for the Petitioners as before us the question is not, whether, due to misdeeds of some candidates, meritorious candidates should also suffer. It is not a case where there was no material or the material before the Chancellor was not of any assistance to arrive at the conclusions recorded in his order. This is a case where sufficiency or insufficiency of the material before the Chancellor is not a ground on which this exercise is requested to be undertaken. Before us, the principal contentions were lack of power in the Chancellor and exercise of that power in disregard to the principles of *123* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw natural justice. Both contentions have failed for the afore assigned reasons.
94 We are in agreement with Mr.Deshpande that this is not a case where there was absolutely no material. There was adequate and enough material in the form of the Dhabe Committee's report, extracts of which have been noted by us and that report unmistakably opines and concludes that the entire selection process is vitiated. In addition to that the Inquiry Committee undertakes another exercise, but which does not in any manner dilute or impact the findings and conclusions reached. We have a case where the Selection Committee called large number of candidates for interview without following proper ratio as prescribed by the State Government, led to selection of undeserving and less meritorious candidates by manipulation, favoritism and other mal- practices. Although the posts of SRA and JRA belonged to separate pay scales, but the Selection Committee held common interviews for the said posts and the suitability could not have been, therefore, judged. The criteria for assessment of candidates was illegal. The Selection Committee took into account and awarded the marks for Ph.D. thesis although such thesis was submitted after the date prescribed in the advertisement as last date for forwarding the application was 15.09.2004. This marking system *124* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw is illegal. The Selection Committee gave higher weightage to the performance in interview as compared to academic performance. There is tinkering in mark sheets of the candidates. In some of the cases the mark sheets were not prepared in the meeting of the Selection Committee and they were also not placed before any of its meeting for its consideration and approval. The Chairman and Member Secretary of the Selection Committee on their own, without any authority or power in them, increased the number of posts of SRA and JRA to be filled in. These and others are serious enough irregularities and illegalities and their cumulative effect, as rightly pointed out by the Chancellor, is that the selection process is vitiated as a whole. Once there is question mark about the whole process, then, the exercise which Mr.Manohar would like us to undertake, would mean assisting the beneficiaries and allowing them to get away from the punishment. The exercise would result in benefiting wrong doers rather than innocent being protected and saved from punishment. Thirdly, the Supreme Court does not desire that such exercise be undertaken in all cases. If judicial conscience is shocked to such an extent and when the impugned order passed is by the Governor of Maharashtra, who is the Chancellor of all Agricultural Universities, then, we cannot attribute any ill motive or tinge of arbitrariness or unfairness straightway and in the absence of any material in that behalf. *125* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw Therefore, we are bound equally by the observations of the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Inderpreet Singh Kahlon (supra) that the corruption in the selection process and which goes to the root of the matter that would not be tolerated. In the case of Inderpreet Singh, Honourable Mr. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, other Honourable Judge constituting the Bench has made the following pertinent observations:- "117. The principal question which needs to be adjudicated is whether, in the facts and circumstances of these cases, the respondents were justified in cancelling the entire selection both of executive and judicial officers?
118. Undoubtedly, in the selection process, there have been manipulations and irregularities at the behest of R.S. Sidhu, the then Chairman, Punjab Public Service Commission. On careful scrutiny of the facts and circumstances of the case, in my considered opinion, the High Court ought to have made a serious endeavour to segregate the tainted from the non- tainted candidates. Though the task was certainly difficult, but by no stretch of imagination, it was not an impossible task.
119. The peculiar facts of this case which need to be highlighted are that some of the candidates have worked for about three years and their services were terminated only on the basis of criminal investigation which was at the initial stage. The termination of their services as a consequence of cancellation of selection would not only prejudice their interests seriously, but would ruin their entire future career.
122. A close scrutiny of the facts of this case clearly reveals that the judicial officers did not get a fair treatment by the High Court. They were not given copies of the Report and other material on which reliance was placed and they virtually had no chance of making effective representation before the Committee or any other forum where they could ventilate their grievances and present their point of *126* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw view.
123. When the basis of termination is serious allegations of corruption, then it is imperative that the principles of natural justice must be fully complied with.
124. The High Court has not considered the case in the proper perspective. The consequences of en masse cancellation would carry a big stigma particularly on cancellation of the selections which took place because of serious charges of corruption. The question arises whether for the misdeeds of some candidates, honest and good candidates should also suffer on en masse cancellation leading to termination of their services? Should those honest candidates be compelled to suffer without there being any fault on their part just because the respondents find it difficult to segregate the cases of tainted candidates from the other candidates? The task may be difficult for the respondents, but in my considered view, in the interest of all concerned and particularly in the interest of honest candidates, the State must undertake this task. The unscrupulous candidates should not be allowed to damage the entire system in such a manner where innocent people also suffer great ignominy and stigma."
95 The other decisions cited by Mr.Manohar do not deal with the situation of illegalities and irregularities in the selection process going to the root of the matter and vitiating the selection totally. The cases reported in (1993) 3 SCC 591 (Dr.M.S.Mudhol and another v/s S.D.Halegkar and others), (1991) 3 SCC 368 (Munindra Kumar and others v/s Rajiv Govil and others) and (1998) 8 SCC 194 (Basudeo Tiwary v/s Sido Kanhu University and others) were either of irregularities, but not so serious as to vitiate the entire selection process process or going to the root of it and where principles of natural justice *127* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw were not adhered to at all. Such is not the case before us. We are of the opinion that none of the decisions cited including Inderpreet Singh (supra) are of any assistance to the Petitioners. 96 Once the above view is taken, then, it is not necessary to refer to all decisions in the field save and except referring to two decisions cited by Mr.Gorde on the point if one person hear and another decides, then, personal hearing will become empty formality. (See Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association v/s Designated Authority and others reported in (2011) 2 SCC 258). Another decision on which reliance is placed by Mr.Gorde is in case of Rasid Javed and others v/s State of Uttar Pradesh and another, reported in (2010) 7 SCC 781. In the case before us, this principle has no applicability because the Chancellor has issued directives to the Vice Chancellor which he is required to comply with in law. The power to issue such directives and that it is required to be complied with, is not in dispute rather not denied. Therefore, it is not as if the Chancellor has abdicated his responsibility and a personal hearing was hence refused. Instead, as we observed above, he has fairly treated the Petitioners and despite the selection process being vitiated as a whole, considering the hardship that would be caused to the Petitioners, he ensured compliance with the principles of natural justice. Therefore, these decisions referred *128* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw to by Mr.Gorde are not of any assistance to the Petitioners. 97 Once the above view is taken, then, the decisions cited by Mr.Deshpande need not be referred extensively because they reiterate the settled view that the principles of natural justice cannot be put in straight jacket formula and its applicability depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and the nature of inquiry. It is not necessary that in every case there must be an opportunity of oral hearing. 98 However, Mr.Deshpande is right in relying upon a decision in the case of Union of India and others v/s O. Chakradhar reported in (2002) 3 SCC 146, and particularly paragraph 8 thereof wherein the Supreme Court emphasized that the nature and the extent of illegalities and irregularities committed in conducting a selection will have to be scrutinized in each case so as to come to a conclusion about future course of action to be adopted in the matter. If the mischief played is so widespread and all-pervasive, affecting the result, so as to make it difficult to pick out the persons who have been unlawfully benefited or wrongfully deprived of their selection, in such cases it will neither be possible nor necessary to issue individual show cause notices to each selectee. The only way out would be to cancel the whole selection. Motive behind the *129* wp.238.12.group.pdkv.sxw irregularities committed also has its relevance. (See paragraph 8). 99 As a result of the above discussion, each of the Writ Petitions fail. Rule is discharged therein, but without any order as to costs. 100 At this stage, the learned Counsel appearing for the Petitioners pray for continuation of the interim order in order to enable the Petitioners to challenge the Judgment in higher court. Having considered this request, we continue the interim order for a period of six weeks from today.
(S.C. Dharmadhikari, J.)