New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has quashed the appointment of Dr Navneet Goel as the Medical Director of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital in the capital, holding that the Delhi government’s Health Department had created the position without following the proper procedures.
It emphasised that the power of the state as an employer cannot be exercised arbitrarily and must comply with constitutional and legal requirements, adding that public employment in a democratic republic should adhere to the Constitution and established procedures.
The court further noted that the state’s power as an employer is more restricted compared to that of a private employer due to constitutional limitations.
“Public employment in a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, has to be as set down by the Constitution and the laws made thereunder. Our Constitutional scheme envisages employment by the government and its instrumentalities on the basis of procedure established,” a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said.
The bench was dealing with a plea filed as Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Suresh Gaur.
The court allowed the PIL and ordered the annulment of Goel’s appointment as the Medical Director of the hospital.
“In no manner can it be construed that the appointment of Respondent No. 4 (Dr Navneet Goel) was done keeping in mind the relevant statutory provisions. In light of the aforesaid, this instant writ petition is allowed and the Impugned Order of appointment of Respondent No. 4 as the Medical Director, BSA Hospital is set aside,” it ordered.
The petitioner claimed that the appointment was made in an illegal and arbitrary manner, and there was mismanagement at the hospital since Dr Goel assumed the position.
The court found that the post of Medical Director was created without following due process and without adhering to the relevant statutory provisions.
It criticised the authorities for appointing Dr Goel to an irregular post without considering the criteria set by themselves.
“It is an undisputed fact that the post of Medical Director does not find place in the Allopathy Rules, 2009. The post of Medical Director was created only in terms of the aforesaid mechanical Order dated 19.02.2016. The same, or any other submissions and documents put forth by the Respondents to build their case, has most certainly not satisfied the judicial conscience of this Court,” the court stated.
The court also mentioned that the eligibility for the post of Medical Director was based on vague criteria, which granted excessive discretion to the government, and emphasised the importance of fairness and transparency in public employment.
It stated that any arbitrary criteria in public employment would violate Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution and highlighted that the state’s power as an employer is limited by constitutional constraints and cannot be exercised arbitrarily.
“The state is duty bound to act in a fair and transparent manner in matters of public employment. Any criterion which would be arbitrary in matters of public employment, would run afoul of Articles 14 & 16 of the Constitution,” the court said.