Srinagar, June 17: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued a notice to government over the cancellation of the selection process for filling up the posts of probationary officers and banking associates in the J&K Bank.
A bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also ordered the J&K Bank to postpone till further orders the date of availability of the link for online registration of candidature by the prospective candidates pursuant to a fresh notification, issued on June 1 this year, for 350 probationary officers and 1500 banking associates vacancies.
The court was hearing a petition filed by as many as 288 aspiring candidates who had participated in the selection process pursuant to a notification on 6 October 2018. The candidates have challenged the notification issued earlier this year by the Bank whereby it notified that the selection process conducted for the posts stands cancelled. They have also challenged the fresh recruitment notice.
As soon as the petition came up for the hearing, Khan Roshan Khayal, an Officer of the J&K Bank, working in its Legal Section, appeared before the court and raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the plea. He submitted that the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited is not a State within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution.
He, in this regard, invited the attention of the Court to the Full Bench Decision of the Court in Firdous Ahmad Tanki v the J&K Bank Ltd (2006), wherein the majority view taken was that the Bank was neither the State nor an authority or instrumentality of the State within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India. He submitted that the bank was not amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
However, senior advocate Jahangir Iqbal Ganai on behalf of the petitioners submitted that the judgment of the Full Bench was distinguishable as the factors which formed the basis for such declaration have changed so much so the judgment was based on the fact that the share capital of the Bank was only 53% which is now 68.18%.
He submitted that in view of the “changed circumstances”, the financial and Administrative control of Bank is now with the Government.
He also referred to the impugned notice by President-HR of the Bank, cancelling the selection process conducted for the posts by the Bank. “This notice reads that approval to the cancellation of the selection process was accorded by the Board of Directors of the Bank on 15.4.2020 in pursuance of directions of the J&K’s Administrative Council,” he said, according to Global News Service.
After hearing both the parties, the court issued notice to the government, observing the impugned notice (dated 15.04.2020) reveal that the decision has actually been taken by the Administrative Council of the J&K.
“Since the petition is to be heard on an important question of law of general public importance, the Advocate General is requested to render his valuable assistance to the Court in determining the question,” the court said and ordered listing of the petition on June 26.
“….It is seen that the fresh advertisement notification dated 01.06.2020 has notified the availability of the link for online registration of candidates as from 20.06.2020.
The Court is of the opinion that since the matter is under consideration of the Court on an important question of general public importance, with a view to securing the interests of the petitioners as well as to ensure that the prospective candidates are not put to any inconvenience later on, it would be appropriate for the Bank to issue a notice postponing the date of availability of the link for registration of candidature by the prospective candidates till further orders from the Court,” the court said and ordered it accordingly.