Civil Appeal No. 4964 Of 2010 Arising Out Of Slp (Civil) No.27153 Of 2008, Civil Appeal Nos. 4965-4966 Of 2010 Arising Out Of Slp (Civil) Nos.27155-27156 Of 2008. Case: 1. East Coast Railway & Anr., 2. K. Surekha Vs Mahadev Appa Rao & Ors.. Supreme Court

Case Number:Civil Appeal No. 4964 Of 2010 Arising Out Of Slp (Civil) No.27153 Of 2008, Civil Appeal Nos. 4965-4966 Of 2010 Arising Out Of Slp (Civil) Nos.27155-27156 Of 2008
Party Name:1. East Coast Railway & Anr., 2. K. Surekha Vs Mahadev Appa Rao & Ors.
Judges:Aftab Alam & T.S. Thakur, JJ.
Issue:Constitution of India - Articles 14, 16
Citation:AIR 2010 SC 2794, JT 2010 (6) SC 522, 2010 (6) UJ 3027 (SC)
Judgement Date:July 07, 2010
Court:Supreme Court


Aftab Alam & T.S. Thakur, JJ.

  1. Leave granted.

  2. These appeals arise out of an order passed by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad whereby Writ Petition No.15196 of 2007 has been allowed and the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Hyderabad Bench in OA No.748 of 2006 set aside.

  3. Senior Divisional Personnel Officer, East Coast Railway, Visakhapatnam, issued a notification proposing to conduct a written/practical typewriting test for filling up the vacant posts of Chief Typists in the pay-scale of Rs.5500-9000. In response as many as 12 candidates appeared in the test held on 30th October, 2006 the result whereof was announced on 22nd November, 2006. Some of the candidates who failed to qualify made a representation complaining about the manner in which the test was conducted alleging that defective typewriting machines provided to them placed them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis candidates declared successful. The successful candidates also appear to have made a representation impressing upon the authorities to go ahead with the interviews and to complete the selection process expeditiously. Since that did not happen, OA No.748 of 2006 was filed before the CAT by one of the successful candidates for a direction to respondent to proceed with the selection. In the meantime the Divisional Manager of the appellant-Railways issued an order on 14th of December, 2006 cancelling the typewriting test conducted on 30th October, 2006. By another notification of even date a fresh typewriting test was notified to be held on 16th December, 2006 for all the 12 in-service candidates who had appeared in the earlier test. By an interim order passed by the Tribunal the railway authorities were allowed to conduct the proposed second test in which the applicant before the Tribunal could also appear. The applicant was at the same time permitted to amend the prayer in the OA to assail the order passed by the Divisional Manager of the Railways cancelling the earlier test.

  4. It is not in dispute that pursuant to the said notification and the order passed by the Tribunal a fresh test was indeed conducted in which all the eligible in-service candidates appeared although the result of the said test has not been announced so far. The Tribunal eventually dismissed OA No.748 of 2006 holding that the test earlier conducted was rightly cancelled inasmuch as the candidates were made to take the test in batches and no option was given to them to bring their own typewriters. The Tribunal further held that although some of the candidates had made representation as early as on 23rd October, 2006 seeking permission to use computers their request was not considered. All this according to the Tribunal justified the cancellation of the typewriting test held on 30th October and the issue of a notification for a fresh test.

  5. Aggrieved by the order passed by the Tribunal Shri Mahadev Appa Rao declared successful in the first test filed Writ Petition No.15196/2007 before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh which has by the order impugned in the present appeal allowed the same and set aside the order passed by the Tribunal as also the order by which the earlier test was cancelled. The High Court further directed the respondent to proceed with the selection process pursuant to notification dated 18th October, 2006 and the practical test conducted on 30th October, 2006 in terms thereof. The present appeals, as noted above, assail the correctness of the said order.

  6. We have heard learned counsel for the parties at some length and perused the record. The High Court has found fault with the order cancelling the earlier test primarily because the same was unsupported by any reasons whatsoever. The said order is in the following words:

    The practical test conducted to Hd. Typists in scale Rs.5000-8000 (RSRP) on 30.10.2006 in connection with the selection of Chief Typist in scale Rs.5500-9000 (RSRP) to form a panel of 4 UR + 1 SC and the results published vide O.A. No. Estt/Pers/52/2006, Dt. 22.12.2006 are hereby cancelled.

  7. The High Court was also of the view that no reasons for cancellation of the test having been recorded even on the file contemporaneously maintained for that purpose, the same could not be supplied in the affidavit filed in reply to the Writ Petition challenging the said order, especially when the cancellation of the test was not according to the High Court necessitated by any irregularity in the conduct of the test or any mala fides vitiating the same. In the absence of any such infirmity the cancellation of the examination was arbitrary and unsustainable, declared the High Court.

  8. There is no quarrel with the well-settled proposition of law that an order passed by a public authority exercising administrative/executive or statutory powers must be judged by the reasons stated in the order or any record or file contemporaneously maintained. It follows that the infirmity arising out of the absence of reasons cannot be cured by the authority passing the order stating such reasons in an affidavit filed before the Court where the validity of any such order is under challenge. The legal position in this regard is settled by the decisions of this Court in Commissioner of Police, Bombay v. Gordhandas Bhanji (AIR 1952 SC 16) wherein this Court observed:


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