(2018)1 SCeJ 862

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(i) Appointment - Vested right - Whether the petitioners have any vested right to claim that the result must be declared and if the petitioners are selected, they should be appointed? - Merely because a person has been selected, does not give that person an indefeasible right of claiming appointment - As far as the present cases are concerned, results have not been declared and even the selection process is not complete, as such, the petitioners have no enforceable right to claim that the result should be declared or that they should be appointed if found meritorious – Service matter.                                                                                                                 [Para 15]

(ii) Appointment - Vested right and duty to act fairly - Even though the candidates may not have a vested right of appointment and the State is not under any duty or obligation to fill up the vacancies, the State has to act fairly and it cannot act in an arbitrary manner - The decision, not to fill up the vacancies pursuant to the selection process, must be taken bona fide and for justifiable and appropriate reasons - When we examine the decision taken by the Central Government in a holistic manner, we have no doubt that the decision to scrap the LCE recruitment has been taken in the larger public interest. The decision is definitely not mala fide - It is not actuated by extraneous reasons - It cannot be said that the decision is arbitrary – Service matter.                                                  [Para 16, 24]

(iii) Promissory estoppel - Principle of  - Settled law that the principle of promissory estoppel can only be invoked by a person who has changed his position to his detriment on the basis of the promise held out to him - This is not the position in the present cases - All the candidates are serving in the State Police or the Central Police Organisation or in the Army - Their position has not been adversely affected by the selection process and therefore, the principle of promissory estoppel is not applicable.                                                                                          [Para 17]

(iv) Legitimate expectation - That pursuant to the written test and interview, their result would be declared and if found successful, they would be appointed -  It is a well settled law that even if there is no vested right, the principle of legitimate expectation can be invoked - Legitimate expectation arises when the citizens expect that they will be benefitted under some policy or decision, announced by the State - At the same time, the law is well settled that the Legislature and the Executive can change any policy for good reasons - These good reasons must be such which are not arbitrary, which are not mala fide and the decision has been taken in the public interest - If the decision to change the policy is arbitrary or capricious then it may be struck down - When we examine the decision taken by the Central Government in a holistic manner, we have no doubt that the decision to scrap the LCE recruitment has been taken in the larger public interest. The decision is definitely not mala fide - It is not actuated by extraneous reasons - It cannot be said that the decision is arbitrary - Service matter.                                                   [Para 18, 24]

Held,

It is the combined effect of all the grounds which will have to be taken into consideration. There is no manner of doubt that it was expected that the result would be declared in the year 2013 and the officers would be sent for training in the same year. We are in the year 2018 and some of the matters which have been transferred to this Court are still to be heard. It was urged that the dispute stands decided by the Gauhati High Court and the Delhi High Court. It may be true that these two Courts have upheld the validity of the rules and the Union of India did not challenge the decisions in these two cases, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that there are various other petitions pending and neither this Court nor the other High Courts are bound by the decision rendered by the Gauhati High Court or the Delhi High Court. These cases will have to be decided, if we are not to accept the stand of the Central Government. This could delay the matter even further. The officers, who may have been selected in the year 2013 at the upper age limit of 35 years or 36 years would now be 5 years older. No doubt, they are members of the State Police Service or the Central Police Organisation, but their induction or recruitment in the IPS is delayed by more than 5 years. When the Government laid down a policy that upper age limit was 35 years, it must have had some reason for fixing the upper age limit. That purpose is now defeated. If the Union is compelled to make the appointments, this will lead to a plethora of litigation where the persons recruited to the IPS between 2013 and 2018 will claim seniority over the persons, who appear in the LCE. We can easily visualise the huge amount of litigation which will in all probability ensue, where members of the IPS would be litigating against each other. Such litigation would not be in public good and will achieve no higher purpose. In fact, such litigation may also affect the morale of the officers in the IPS. 

                                                                                                                                          [Para 20, 21, 22]

 

Facts;  Limited Competitive Examination for recruitment to IPS  - The directly recruited Deputy Superintendents of Police in the State Police Service and their equivalents in the Central Police Services with a minimum of 5 years of service were eligible for this exam - Union of India took a decision to scrap the LCE held in the year 2012 - Candidates who had appeared in the LCE have opposed this decision. 

 

 


 

 

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