Supreme Court stays KPSC notification on appointment of engineers

Supreme Court stays KPSC notification on appointment of engineers

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a notification issued by the Karnataka Public Service Commission on a plea contending that the conditions, including a new reservation policy stipulated in the order for appointment of engineers, put the absorption of hundreds of those working on ad hoc basis since 1993 at risk.

A bench comprising Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra issued notices to the Karnataka government and the KPSC on a petition filed by some of the candidates.

Senior advocate P P Rao, appearing for the petitioners, challenged the Karnataka High Court order refusing to stay the notification issued by the KPSC on August 28.

The petition was filed by advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani on behalf of 417 assistant/ junior engineers appointed on ad hoc/contract basis in 1993-94 by the Karnataka government, in the Upper Krishna Project.

The court also stayed the publication of the final list of candidates and put the matter for further consideration on December 1.

On February 11, 1999, the Karnataka Public Works (Irrigation Services) (Recruitment of Assistant Engineers and Junior Engineers) (Special) Rules 1998 came into force.

In view of the services of the junior/ assistant engineers on contract/ ad hoc basis over a long period of time, the government absorbed them by framing the Karnataka Civil Services (Absorption of Assistant Engineers and Junior Engineers appointed on contract basis and on ad hoc basis in Water Resources Services) (Special) Rules 2002.

The High Court, however, had on July 13, 2012, struck down the absorption rules of 2002 as violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution and directed the government to initiate fresh recruitment fixing the cut-off date as February 11, 1999 (the date on which the special recruitment rules of 1999 came into force) for qualification and age.

The High Court’s order was challenged before the apex court, which had on December 14, 2012, dismissed the special leave petition.

But the apex court ordered that any person who has been working on ad hoc basis and was eligible at the initial time of his appointment can apply in pursuance of any advertisement made even if he has become over-aged.

Thereafter, the Karnataka Civil Services (Water Resource Service) (Special Recruitment of Assistants Engineers and Junior Engineers) Act 2013 came into force which ensured protection of the services of 417 engineers (both assistant engineers and junior engineers) who were working in the post from the year 1993-1994 onwards.

The petitioners, however, contended that by the revised notification of August 25, the KPSC had changed the eligibility criteria and insisted on reservation, as prevalent on February 11, 1999.

“Such a stipulation of a new condition of eligibility is not permissible in terms of the orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court,” the petitioners argued.

“The notification dated 25-8-2014 provides for awarding grace marks for contract engineers (land lost category) who have been appointed, worked and left the job, during the period 2002-2007. Whereas, the 2013 Act does not provide for awarding any grace marks to the engineers appointed between 2002-2007. A candidate who has left the job ought not to have been awarded any weightage or grace marks,” they said.

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