Law ministry's irregular appointment process scrapped
New Delhi: In an embarrassment to the
Union Law Ministry, the Central Administrative Tribunal has
scrapped its appointment process for recruitment of deputy
government counsel under prestigious Indian Legal Service,
saying the ministry had "changed the rules of the game
While scrapping the entire appointment process
initiated in 2007 to select 6 ILS officers as deputy
government counsel in the ministry, the CAT also indicted the
Union Public Service Commission for not adhering studiously to
the recruitment rules and ordered it to begin the process
"It is a well-settled principle that once the process
of selection starts, the prescribed selection criteria cannot
be changed. In the instant case, the respondents had changed
the rules of the game, while the game was in progress," said
the CAT, scrapping the appointment process.
"The whole selection process for the post of deputy
government counsel, initiated by the advertisement in July
2007 has been vitiated by the irregular process followed for
the selection," said a bench of CAT's Chairman, Justice V K
Bali, and Vice-chairman L K Joshi.
"The only option available is that the whole process
should be scrapped and fresh selection should be made by
inviting applications afresh," it added, while scrapping the
appointment process which had eventually been able to appoint
only one officer.
The order came on petitions filed by five ministry
officials -- four of them working as assistant legal advisers
and one as deputy legal adviser on ad hoc basis, challenging
the appointment process. The five officials too had applied
for the appointment as deputy government counsel, but moved
the CAT detecting the irregularities in the appointment
They had applied for the post of deputy government
counsel as the posts were not open to be filled up through
promotion by departmental candidates.
During the adjudication of their pleas, the CAT found
that to fill five vacancies of deputy government counsel in
the ministry, the UPSC had issued the advertisement inviting
applications in July 2007, in response to which a total of 516
Out of the 516 applicants, the UPSC short-listed and
invited 63 candidates for interview between June 8 and 12,
2009. But, midway through the interviews, the law ministry
sent to the UPSC the names of its six officials for their
interview against the same vacancies.
Seven months later, the UPSC summoned 280 more
candidates out of original 516 applicants as none of the
originally interviewed candidates were appointed against the
vacancies, which had been later reduced to five.