Orissa HC, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

CUTTACK: The Orissa high court has held that appointment of guest faculty is based on the policies of institutions and courts cannot interfere in such matters. “It is the prerogative of the institution to select the right candidates, who are best suited to dispense duties attached to the post,” the HC said.

The observation came while refusing to interfere in the dispute raised over the issue of appointment of guest faculty in the department of zoology, Dhenkanal Autonomous College.

Justice S K Panigrahi said whether a candidate qualifies for the post is a matter properly reserved for the interview board’s decision-making authority, which the court cannot enter.

“Indeed, this breadth of authority granted to the interview board is particularly apt given that it sits as an expert body to consider the suitability of the academic qualifications of the candidates, which this court should not and, as a matter of propriety, cannot review on merits,” Justice Panigrahi observed on Thursday.

As far as jurisdiction is concerned, Justice Panigrahi said the court must not become the primary decision maker as it is concerned only with eligibility and legality of appointments to public offices, not suitability of individual candidates.

In the case at hand, the petitioner performed his duties as guest faculty from 2015-2020. But his candidature was not renewed later. The petitioner challenged appointment of two other faculties, who were placed below him in the merit list.

However, Justice Panigrahi further said the petitioners candidature for engagement as guest faculty was rejected on serious administrative grounds and appointment orders in favour of two others were issued after refusal by other rank holders in the merit list.

Therefore, it cannot be said that there was malafide intention on the part of the institution in not allowing the petitioner to be engaged as a guest faculty, the judge ruled, adding, a resolution passed on January 11, 2021 had made adverse inferences against the petitioner was borne out of his professional conduct in the institution.

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