Supreme Court of India
The State Of Uttar Pradesh vs Pankaj Kumar on 18 November, 2021Author: Hon’Ble Dr. Chandrachud

Bench: Hon’Ble Dr. Chandrachud, A.S. Bopanna




(Arising out of SLP (CIVIL) No.5006 of 2020)

State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. .…Appellant(s)

Pankaj Kumar …. Respondent(s)


A.S. Bopanna,J.

1. The appellants are before this Court assailing the order

dated 29.08.2019 passed by the Division Bench of the High

Court of Judicature at Allahabad, Lucknow Bench, Lucknow, in

Special Appeal Defective No. 366/2019. Through the said order

the Division Bench of the High Court has dismissed the Special

Appeal, thereby upholding the judgment and order dated

Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
12.03.2019 passed by the learned Single Judge in W.P. No.693
Sanjay Kumar
Date: 2021.11.18
13:51:42 IST

(S/S) of 2019, titled Pankaj Kumar vs. State of U.P and Ors.

2. The brief facts leading to the present appeal is that the

appellants had published an advertisement in the year 2015 to

recruit Police Constables to the Provincial Armed Constabulary

(Male) by direct recruitment. The respondent herein was one of

the candidates who had responded to the said advertisement

and submitted his application. Pursuant thereto, the admit

card was issued to the respondent and the initial fitness

examination was held. In order to complete the process of

selection, the documents were to be verified and the candidates

were to be subjected to physical fitness test which was to be

made subsequently as the next stage of recruitment process.

The issue presently is with regard to the respondent being

unable to appear for the physical fitness test and the

verification of documents which he alleges is for want of written


3. According to the appellants, the candidates who were

required to appear for the physical fitness test and document

verification were intimated by issuing SMS over the mobile

phone, the number of which had been furnished in the

application. Several other candidates who had received such

SMS had appeared and taken part in the process of document

verification and the physical fitness test. The respondent who

had not appeared, made out a grievance about appellants not

intimating the respondent through post. In that light, the

respondent filed the writ petition bearing SS No.693 of 2019

seeking that the appellants herein be directed to complete the

document verification and the physical fitness test of the

respondent pertaining to his height, weight and chest

measurement and to declare the result after completing the

process. The case put forth was that the appellants had not

adhered to the requirement contemplated under the Uttar

Pradesh (Civil Police) Constable and Head Constable Rules,

2008. According to the respondent, as per rule, a call letter was

required to be issued. Since, such call letter has not been

issued to the respondent he was unable to take part in the

process of document verification and physical fitness test. The

Learned Single Judge though did not record a finding with

regard to there being violation or non­compliance of any rule,

had arrived at the conclusion that there was inadvertence on

part of the respondent since an applicant would not have

deliberately not participated in the process of recruitment. In

that circumstance, as a matter of equitable consideration, the

Learned Single Judge had directed the appellants to permit the

petitioner to appear for the document verification and physical

fitness test for the post of Constable in pursuance to the

recruitment advertised in the year 2015.

4. The appellants herein, claiming to be aggrieved by such

direction issued by the Learned Single Judge filed an intra

court appeal in Special Appeal No.366/2019 before the Division

Bench of the High Court. The Division Bench having extracted

the portion of the observations made by the Learned Single

Judge wherein an equitable consideration was made, has

further indicated that there is no dispute to the fact that except

for the SMS sent to the respondent no other mode of

information was sent and in that view the Division Bench

approved the direction issued by the Learned Single Judge

whereby an opportunity has been granted to the respondent to

appear for the document verification and physical fitness test. It

is in that view, the appeal was dismissed.

5. Mr. Pradeep Misra, learned counsel representing the

appellants while assailing the order passed by the Learned

Single Judge as also the Division Bench has contended that

keeping in view the large number of candidates and the process

to be completed, the candidates were intimated by sending SMS

to appear for the document verification and the physical fitness

test. It is his further contention that the negligence of the

respondent in not responding to such SMS by appearing for the

further process should be to his own detriment and cannot

interfere with the process of selection which has been

completed. It is pointed out that the physical standard test had

been held as far back as on 17 th, 18th and 19th September 2018.

At this belated stage, no indulgence can be shown when

admittedly the SMS had been received by the respondent on the

mobile no.8394959934 which was furnished by him. Reference

is made to the information/notification dated 15.05.2018

wherein the details of the process of selection had been

indicated and the candidates had also been notified therein that

the result is available on the website, the details of which was

furnished. The candidates were required to keep track of the

details of the selection process through the website. Hence the

respondent cannot come up with the contention as has been

put forth by him herein. It is contended that though one

opportunity had been granted as a concession to about 151

candidates pursuant to direction issued by the Court, the said

process cannot be a continuing one, as and when

individuals/candidates seek to reopen the selection process

time and again. It is contended that the Coordinate Bench of

the High Court in another writ petition had rejected a similar

claim as that of the respondent and the Division Bench had

upheld the rejection. It is in that light contended that in respect

of the selection process which was commenced in the year 2015

and concluded in all respects in the year 2018, request for

opportunity at this belated stage ought not to have been

entertained by the High Court.

6. Mr. Sarvesh Kumar Dubey, learned counsel for the

respondent on the other hand seeks to sustain the order passed

by the Learned Single Judge and approved by the Division

Bench of the High Court. It is his contention that the Rules

contemplated that the intimation has to be sent through post,

but no such intimation was issued to the respondent. It is

contended that the mere issue of SMS intimating the date of

further process in the selection would not be sufficient. He

contends that the mobile number would be furnished by the
candidates at the time of making an application and in the

instant case since about 3 years had elapsed from the date of

the application, there could be no assumption that the

candidate would possess the very same mobile connection and

the number. In that light, it is contended that the appropriate

course to ensure proper service would be through postal

intimation, which had not been done in the instant case. It is in

that background, the Learned Single Judge as also the Division

Bench has arrived at the conclusion that an opportunity is

required to be furnished as the employment opportunity should

not be jeopardized. He therefore, seeks that this appeal be


7. In the light of the rival contentions, having perused the

order passed by the learned Single Judge as also the conclusion

reached by the Division Bench of the High Court, it would

indicate that the High Court has not granted the relief to the

respondent by recording a finding with regard to the non­

compliance of any requirement envisaged under the Rule or

procedure provided in the advertisement calling for

applications. The Rule as referred to by the learned counsel for

the respondent mentions that the intimation is to be provided
by postal communication or any other mode. In that view, there

is no bar in intimating the candidates through SMS, more

particularly when large number of candidates had to appear in

the subsequent process and majority of the candidates have

appeared for document verification and physical fitness test

pursuant to intimation by SMS. Even, so far as the respondent

is concerned, it is not his case that he had not received the

SMS. It is only a technical contention that he ought to have

been intimated through postal communication. When a

requirement is stated in the application to provide the mobile

number, it is with a purpose to communicate and in the instant

case, the appellants have sent the SMS to the very number

which had been furnished by the appellant.

8. Though, the learned counsel for the respondent vaguely

contended that a person may not retain the same number after

a long lapse of time, no material has been brought on record to

indicate that the respondent did not possess the said mobile

connection as on the date the SMS was sent. Further, the

argument as put forth by the learned counsel for the

respondent that one may not retain the same number after

lapse of long time would hold good even for the address which
is furnished for issue of postal communication. In a given case,

the person may not reside in the same address which is

furnished for communication as it existed when the application

is made. In such circumstance, it is for the candidate to

intimate any change to the authorities, since such change

would be within the knowledge of the candidate and it is in his

or her own interest such intimation is to be made. In the

instant case, when there can be no dispute that the respondent

was in possession of the same mobile connection, the detail of

which was furnished in the application and the SMS had been

sent to the respondent, the respondent having not acted on the

same cannot at his own convenience make request to be

permitted to participate in the selection process which has

already concluded, not having utilized the opportunity which

was available to him.

9. Further, from the very nature of consideration made by

the High Court, it is seen that it was the casual attitude of the

respondent which had brought about the situation though the

High Court has mildly put it as, inadvertence and provided an

opportunity. It is no doubt true, that as contended by the

respondent in the objection statement, an opportunity was
granted to about 151 candidates to take part in the selection

process as indicated in the notice dated 14.01.2019 issued

pursuant to directions issued by the High Court in the writ

petitions which were filed. It is to be noticed that the

respondent was not vigilant at the earliest point in time but it is

only after such consideration had been made by the High Court

and an opportunity was granted to certain other persons, the

respondent had chosen to file the writ petition by merely

contending that he had made a request to permit him to take

part in the process on 15.01.2019 and he had not been


10. In that background, it is to be noted that another

learned Single Judge of the High Court in a similar

circumstance had dismissed Writ Petition No.3647 of 2019 filed

by one Radha Sharma seeking similar relief and the said order

was upheld by the Division Bench in Special Appeal Defective

No.903 of 2019. The order of the learned Single Judge was

dated 13.05.2019. In any event, though indulgence was shown

in the earlier cases, a line has to be drawn at some stage as

otherwise, the recruitment process undertaken by the

competent authorities would be meaningless without a time line
and the next recruitment process will also get effected since

determination of the number of vacancies for the next process

will keep fluctuating. The process herein had commenced in the

year 2015 and the document verification along with the

physical fitness test was held in 2018. Several candidates who

were permitted pursuant to the order of the High Court had

taken part in early January 2019. Since, sufficient time has

elapsed thereafter it would not be appropriate to make an

exception in the case of the respondent at this stage as

otherwise the trickle would continue.

11. We are therefore of the opinion that the learned Single

Judge as also the Division Bench of the High Court was not

justified in their conclusion. The order dated 12.03.2019

passed by the learned Single Judge in W.P No.693 (SS) of 2019

and the order dated 29.08.2019 passed in Special Appeal

Defective No.366 of 2019 by the Division Bench are set aside.

Consequently, the Writ petition No.693 (SS) of 2019 titled

Pankaj Kumar vs. State of U.P. and Ors. stands dismissed.

12. The appeal is allowed with no order as to costs.

13. Pending application, if any, stands disposed of.



New Delhi,
November 18, 2021



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