They passed the test. But time failed them any result.
In what is likely to become a “matter of interest,” the Gujarat HC last week, opened sealed envelopes that carried within, for 25 years, the outcome of the Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) recruitment process for four public service aspirants. All four are now above the age of 55.
The result was a mixed fare. While two candidates found they had been selected for the post, the HC disposed of the petition stating there was no point in appointing them so close to their retirement age.
The four candidates – K V Vadodaria, P D Vahariya, J K Dhanani and V A Nandania – had applied for direct recruitment to the Deputy Director of Agriculture post in response to an advertisement issued in 1997. Their applications were rejected because they had crossed the prescribed age limit of 30 years.
All four were working in the agriculture department at the time. Disqualified, they approached the HC in 1998 and challenged the recruitment rules by pointing out anomalies and requesting to be allowed to participate in the recruitment process.
The HC permitted them to participate, stating their result would be subject to outcome of the litigation. Till then, the result was to be kept in a sealed cover. The litigation remained pending for over two decades due to a lack of interest on behalf of the involved parties.
The petition recently came up for hearing before the bench of Acting Chief Justice A J Desai and Justice Biren Vaishnav. The lawyers representing the petitioners and GPSC told the judges that the issue was “academic” now.
When the court questioned what purpose the outcome of this litigation would serve and whether the sealed cover should be opened at all, the petitioner’s lawyer submitted: “They are anxious and curious to know if they have succeeded.”
The cover was opened. Vadodaria and Dhanani emerged successful in the selection process. Vadodaria is employed with the Navsari Agriculture University, while Dhanani is self-employed. The bench asked how they could be appointed as they were 56-57 years of age. “Petitioner No 3 (Dhanani) is almost 58 and at a stage of retirement,” the bench said.
Also Read: Modi Surname Case: Purnesh Modi’s Counsel Files Reply On RaGa’s Stay Of Conviction