MADURAI: Observing that authorities cannot deny the benefit of a court order to all similarly placed persons even if the aggrieved did not approach the judiciary, the Madras High Court’s Madurai Bench has directed the State to relax rules and appoint a batch of petitioners as librarians in colleges.
Justice R Mahadevan made the observation while allowing a petition filed by G S Mohanavalli and A Vanchinathan seeking a direction to the Higher Education Department to appoint them as college librarians with retrospective effect.
The petitioners, working as Assistants in Government colleges, were eligible to be appointed as librarians but the Higher Education Department did not act on their plea to be considered for the post. Based on their earlier petition, the court had in October 2008 directed the State to consider their claim. The Department unsuccessfully appealed against the order in the Supreme Court.
Later, following a contempt petition they were appointed as Graduate Librarian. However, the post of Graduate Librarian was abolished by a Government Order in May 2009. Hence the two represented to the authorities to be appointed as college librarian with a University Grants Commission-fixed pay scale. But the Higher Education Department did not accept the same prompting them to move the court. Petitioners’ counsel argued that the claims of similarly placed persons were positively considered by the Government in February 2012. But the petitioners alone despite possessing the right qualification were singled out and denied the posting.
Allowing their plea, Justice Mahadevan said, if an earlier order has been passed (based on the same set of facts and circumstances of the case), then the same yardstick/bar/measures will have to be applied in administrative action by the authorities concerned to the petitioners as well.
Rejecting the contention of the Government Advocate that there are no vacancies for the post, the judge directed the Higher Education Secretary to pass appropriate orders by relaxing the Rule 6(a) and repost the petitioners as college librarians in the appropriate pay scale within six weeks.