New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that
candidates whose names are included in the short list for
government jobs cannot claim any indefeasible right of
appointment if the vacancies are already filled up.
A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar in
their judgement said once the vacancies are filled up, neither
courts nor tribunals have the power to direct the government
to appoint further candidates as the short list loses it
"A person whose name appears in the select list does
not acquire any indefeasible right of appointment. Empanelment
at the best is a condition of eligibility for purpose of
appointment and by itself does not amount to selection or
create a vested right to be appointed," the bench said.
The apex court said vacancies have to be filled up as
per the statutory rules and in conformity with the
"Mere inclusion of a candidate`s name in the select
list does not confer any right to be selected, even if some of
the vacancies remain unfilled. The candidate concerned cannot
claim that he has been given a hostile discrimination.
"Select list cannot be treated as a reservoir for the
purpose of appointments, that vacancy can be filled up taking
the names from the list as and when it is so required," the
The apex court passed the judgement while setting
aside the directions of the Orissa High Court and the State
Administrative Tribunal which had directed the Government to
appoint certain clerks who challenged their non-appointment
despite being in the select list of 66 candidates for the 33
vacancies that were filled up.
"If the selection process is over, select list has
expired and appointments had been made, no relief can be
granted by the court at a belated stage. Thus, once the
selection process in respect of number of vacancies so
determined came to an end, it is no more open to offer
appointment to persons from the unexhausted list.
"It is the exclusive prerogative of the employer/state
administration to initiate the selection process for filling
up vacancies occured during a particular years. There may be
vacancies available but for financial constraints, the State
may not be in a position to initiate the selection process for
making appointments," the apex court said.
The bench said bonafide decision taken by the
appointing authority to leave certain vacancies unfilled, even
after preparing the select list cannot be assailed.
"The courts/tribunals have no competence to issue
direction to the State to initiate selection process to fill
up the vacancies. A candidate only has a right to be
considered for appointment, when the vacancies are advertised
and selection process commences, if he possess the requisite
eligibility," the bench said.