GUWAHATI, May 11 - The Special Selection Committee will only be guided by guidelines and parameters outlined in a Central government notification while selecting the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest & Head of Forest Force, the Gauhati High Court has ruled.
Hearing a writ petition challenging a Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order passed on April 12 last, a division bench of Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Manish Choudhury said the norm for making selection to the post of PCCF&HoFF as directed by the judgement and order of the tribunal shall not be given effect to.
�The tribunal could not have set down norms to be applied for the purpose, more so, when there are executive fiats, in the absence of statutory rules governing selection by a high powered committee, where parameters for selection is specifically on the yardstick of outstanding merit, competence, absolute integrity and having specific suitability for the post,� the division bench said, adding that it was its prima facie view.
Aggrieved at not being considered for
promotion to the post of PCCF&HoFF, Special PCCF Abhijit Rabha had approached the CAT, which had directed the State respondents to reconsider his case for promotion. The CAT had held that pendency of the departmental proceeding against Rabha will not be a bar for consideration of his case or promotion and had directed the State respondents to hand over temporary charge of PCCF&HoFF to him till regular promotion to PCCF&HoFF is made on regular basis.
PCCF&HoFF in-charge AM Singh had challenged the CAT order stating that it violated the settled principles of service jurisprudence and contrary to the law. Singh had been holding the post since superannuation of his predecessor in December, pending selection of a full-fledged officer.
Issuing notice to eight respondents returnable within six weeks, the Gauhati High Court said: �We are of the prima facie view that it is not the function of the Tribunal to say what norms would be applicable in making assessment of the merit of officers... It is for the Special Selection Committee alone to evaluate the merits of the candidates and make recommendations on the touchstone of the extant guidelines.�
The high court allowed Singh to continue to hold the charge of PCCF&HoFF.