Officers’ services: HC notice to govt. on law to nullify court verdicts


The High Court of Karnataka has ordered issue of notice to the State government on a petition questioning the law enacted in 2019, giving it retrospective effect from 1994, to protect some public servants whose selections through the Karnataka Public Service Commission were found to be illegal by the courts in 2016.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum, passed the order on a PIL petition filed by Khaleel Ahmed K.R. and 13 others.

Constitutional validity

The petitioners have questioned the constitutional validity of the Karnataka Civil Services (Procedure for selection of candidates during recruitment) Act, 2018, enacted in January 2019 with a retrospective application from May 3, 1994.

The new law was brought into force to protect the services of those officers whose selections, made to the posts of Group A and B Gazetted Probationers in the batches of 1998, 1999 and 2004 by the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC), were found to be made in violation of the rules.

The Act has declared that selection of candidates made to these posts based on various government orders through competitive main examinations, preliminary tests, final and additional selection list would be valid irrespective of judgements of courts or tribunal. Implementation of the courts’ judgement would have resulted on some officers losing their job, posts of some others being down grated from the Group A posts to Group B posts, and elevation in posts for some from the stages of their original recruitment.

Instead of carrying out the directions of the High Court and the Supreme Court, the government, in order to protect the “beneficiaries of fraud” has enacted the legislation to circumvent the orders of the court though the State cannot resort to the path of legislation to protect those whose selections were found to be illegal by the courts, the petitioners have argued.

Promotions

The petitioners have also alleged that several tainted candidates, who were the beneficiaries of the fraudulent selection, have been promoted as IAS and IPS cadres during the pendency of a litigation before the apex court and they continue to remain in the IAS and IPS category even after apex court ruled against their original selection to Group A and Group posts.

“After enacting the law in 2019 to protect those officers selected through the process declared to be tainted by the courts, the government is now contemplating to promote a few more officers to IAS and IPS cadre cadre by perpetuating the illegality,” the petitioners have contended.

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