The Delhi High Court has called into question the stalling of the appointment process for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of Rajasthan Cadre for the year 2018 due to the non-appointment of two members on the Interview Committee, even as the appointment process for 2019 has begun.

“It seems quite incongruous that the process for 2018 appointments, having not been concluded, the appointment process for the succeeding year has commenced,” Justice Prathiba M. Singh remarked.

The High Court asked the Centre’s counsel to give reason for the non-appointment of the two members on the Interview Committee by the Central government. It also asked about the status of the 2018 appointments before the next hearing on July 16.

In the meantime, Justice Singh said the process for appointment for the year 2019 may continue. However, before taking any final decision, the UPSC would have to inform the High Court first.

The court order came on petition filed by 20 candidates who were selected for the interview process for appointment to the IAS of Rajasthan Cadre for the year 2018 in the Non-State Civil Services Officers category.

The scrutiny committee had identified four vacancies and had finalised the list of five times the vacancies i.e. 20 candidates whose interviews were to be conducted. The select list was forwarded by the Rajasthan government to UPSC in November, 2019 and the interviews were scheduled for December 31, 2019. However, at the last minute, the interviews were cancelled due to non-appointment of the two Central government nominees to the Interview Committee.

The petitioners submitted that since the interviews were cancelled, no further progress has even been intimated to them. They approached the High Court after the appointment process for the 2019 vacancies for the same category commenced in May 2020.

UPSC told the court that it could not have conducted the interviews without the two nominees being appointed by the Centre. It also questioned the maintainability of the plea as the jurisdiction of the case would fall at the Central Administrative Tribunal.

Rajasthan government also challenged the territorial jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court in the case as the entire cause of action has arisen in Rajasthan. The Centre’s counsel said that its submissions on maintainability and jurisdiction are the same as those of UPSC and Rajasthan govt.

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