The 41 candidates were selected by MPSC but never appointed by the state; MAT order asks government to appoint them as and when vacancies are available
Shilpa Sonawane, Kalyan resident
In a major setback, there is no recourse from the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) for 41 candidates from the state, who were selected by MPSC in 2014, for the post of English lecturers at Maharashtra Polytechnic Teachers Service Grade - A, but never appointed by the state government. These candidates were compelled to approach MAT, which, in its recent order, directed that they be accommodated against present or future vacancies as and when available, unless age barred. Overlooking these selected candidates by MPSC, the state had regularised the employment of contractual teachers at the polytechnic institutes, leaving the petitioners jobless. The ray of hope that these petitioners were looking for from MAT, hit a roadblock, as the state government submitted that there are no vacancies.
The petitioners pointed to MAT that the government had enacted an act - Maharashtra Creation of Supernumerary Post and Appointment of Selected Candidates Act 2022 - by which it had created 1,067 posts in various other state government-run departments, in order to issue appointment letters to candidates. These candidates were not appointed despite being selected by various selection boards. The plea of the 41 candidates to MAT was that if the government can make provisions by introducing a new act for accommodating candidates selected by other boards for government jobs, then MAT should direct the state government to accommodate them under the act.
But MAT said, “It is up to the respondent state to take policy decisions in respect of these applicants. We are sympathetic towards the plight of the applicants who are trying to wade through very hard water. We expect that respondent-state consider and take appropriate policy decisions in respect of creation of super numeric posts for the applicants."
“This is a clear case of gross injustice by the state government to its own people. The state has violated the fundamental right under Article 16 of the constitution, which guarantees public (state government) employment to citizens, and therefore, if the state doesn’t take steps to accommodate these applicants by creating supernumerary post (created for a limited period to accommodate a government employee when no regular post is available), then the applicants should be compensated for losing their opportunity to work in a state government-run establishment,” advocate Rajeshwar Panchal, who appeared for the petitioners said.
A total of 58 candidates had approached MAT to seek directions that the respondents No.1 (State of Maharashtra) and 2 (The Director of Technical Education) issue orders of appointment as lecturers of English to the applicants, and from the date of the selection they be treated as employees.
The advertisement was issued on July 6, 2013 for 92 posts including lecturers in English across Maharashtra. Out of 58 candidates only 41 maintained their grievances before the tribunal. These applicants were selected. MPSC declared a list of 87 recommended candidates with the applicants included.
Advocate Panchal submitted that the stand taken by the government that it does not give any right to the candidates, does not hold, as some candidates were appointed and therefore they have right under Article 14 of the Constitution.
Panchal even pointed out a G.R. dated September 21, 2022 issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) recommending creation of supernumerary posts based on Supernumerary Post Act 2022. He had also submitted that the Rural Development Department of the State of Maharashtra issued a G.R. dated February 10, 2023, creating supernumerary posts in the civil service of Zilla Parishads for those who were recommended and deprived of due to no vacancy. Panchal also said there are a total of 43 Government Polytechnic colleges in Maharashtra with 57 lecturers’ vacancies.
The other side
S P Manchekar, chief presenting officer (CPO) for the respondents, explained that the appointment orders could not be issued as all vacant posts were exhausted while implementing the orders of the High Court and the Tribunals protecting the adhoc lecturers in English. He said that the government decided not to create more posts of English lecturers when the requirement is less.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar, chairperson, and Medha Gadgil, member, MAT, in their recent order stated, “We are sympathetic towards the plight of the applicants who are trying to wade through very hard water. We expect the Respondent-State to consider and take appropriate policy decisions in respect of creation of supernumerary posts for these applicants. However, we direct that the applicants, as per their merit, be accommodated against the present or future vacancies depending on as and when available in the said subject, unless the applicants are age barred.”
Many of the applicants come from low income families, and in some cases, are the first educated member in the family.
Shilpa Sonawane, 36, a resident of Kalyan said, “I was teaching at a private college, when I cleared MPSC in 2014. The college did not allow me to continue teaching, as they were sure that I would quit the job, once I got the appointment letter. Since then neither have I got an appointment letter from the state government, nor a job.”
Govind Waghmare, 40, of Panvel is the first in his family to have done post graduation in English. “Today, I am working for 1/4th of the salary other MPSC pass outs have been drawing at state government institutions (over R1.20 lakh per month). The government should consider our age at the time of selection (in 2014), so some are not barred from being recruited),” said Waghmare.