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Krishnadatt Awasthy Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh
DATE OF JUDGMENT April 4, 2024
COURTSupreme Court of India 
APPELLANT Krishnadatt Awasthy 
RESPONDENT State of Madhya Pradesh 
BENCHJustice J.K. Maheshwari, Justice K.V. Viswanathan 


Regarding bias in the selection process and the breach of natural justice principles in the selection process for the position of Shiksha Karmi Grade III, the Court rendered split decision. Due to the differing opinions expressed by Justices JK Maheshwari and KV Viswanathan, the subject has been brought before the CJI for the formation of a bigger Bench. The appellants’ appointment to Shiksha Karmi Grade-III was at the center of the issue; however, it was eventually deemed unlawful due to their intimate familial links with committee members. The appellants challenged the Collector’s decision to revoke the selection, claiming a violation of natural justice since they were left out of the first appeal before Collector. 


  • The controversy in the matter concerns the selection and appointment of Shiksha Karmi Grade III in Janpad Panchayat Gaurihar, District Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh, which dates back to 1998.
  • The Janpad Panchayat, Gaurihar, after conducting the process of selection by direct recruitment, issued the list of selected candidates on 16.09.1998 and 249 candidates were notified for appointment. 
  • The appellant were selected for the position and joined duties and started discharging their functions. 
  • Dissatisfied with the selection and appointment of the appellants, who were close relatives of members of the selection committee, and the non-selection of Smt. Archana Mishra, an aspirant, filed an appeal with the Collector, District Chhatarpur.
  • Only three people  were made the respondents, namely
  1. The Chief Executive Officer, Janpad Panchayat, Gaurihar
  2.  Block Development Education Officer, Janpad Panchayat, Gaurihar 
  3. President, Education Committee, Development Block Gaurihar. 
  • Whereas, the appointed candidates were not impleaded as Parties in the matter.
  • Despite the fact that the appointed candidates were not made parties, the Collector granted the appeal. He set aside the selection of 14 candidates including the Appellants. The Collector found that under Section 40(c) of the M.P. Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Swaraj Adhiniyam, 1993, any of the Office Bearers shall not cause financial gains to their relatives. It was also discovered that under Section 100 of the Panchayat Raj Act, it was expressly forbidden for any member, office bearer, or employee to acquire any interest—directly or indirectly—in any contract or job.
  • By submitting a revision to the Commissioner in accordance with Section 5 of the Madhya Pradesh Panchayat (Appeal and Revision) Rules, 1995, the appellants questioned the Collector’s decision. It was submitted that revocation of their appointment by the Collector without joining them as party and affording an opportunity is in violation of the Principle of Natural Justice.
  • The revisionary authority dismissed the revision vide order dated 14.03.2000, observing that the selection of the appellants is contrary to Section 40(c) of the Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Swaraj Adhiniyam, 1993.
  • The revisional authority believed that the appellants were not prejudiced in the facts and circumstances of the case by not joinder. Further, the violation of principle of bias attracts in this case which vitiates the selection. However, in absence of any prejudice, decision of the Collector is not required to be altered with.
  • Aggrieved by the order of revisional authority, appellants filed a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India before the Single Judge Bench in the High Court. The Appellants were given an opportunity to inspect the records of selection through their counsel.
  • The learned Single Judge dismissed the writ petition observing that the Commissioner decided the revision afresh on merits after hearing each and every objection of the appellants. Further entire documents were made available. It was held that the petitioners were not able to demonstrate as to what prejudice was caused by non-grant of hearing to appellants by the Collector.
  • The matter was further carried in appeal to the Division Bench who also dismissed the appeal citing the same reasons as that of Single Judge.
  • Hence, an appeal was presented before the Supreme Court.


  • Whether the principles of natural justice violated, during the conduct of the proceedings before the Collector under Rule 3 of the Madhya Pradesh Panchayat (Appeal and Revision) Rules, 1995 read with Rule 12 of the The Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Shiksha Karmis (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1997?
  • Further, if indeed there was violation of the Audi Alteram Partem rule before the Collector, whether the violation stands cured on account of the availment of the revisional proceedings before the higher authority?
  • Whether the appellants are entitled to a declaration of the invalidity of the orders setting aside their appointments to the post of Shiksha Karmi Grade-III?


  1. It was submitted that revocation of their appointment by the Collector without joining them and affording an opportunity is in violation of the Principle of Natural Justice. 
  2. Learned counsel for the appellants has heavily placed reliance on the judgment of Javid Rasool Bhat & Ors. Vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir & Ors. (1984) 2 SCC 631 to contend that in absence of any allegation of mala fide, it would not be appropriate to reverse the selection process just because one of the candidates was related to a member of the selection committee who declined to take part in the candidate’s interview.
  3. The distinction between “no opportunity at all” and “adequate opportunity” was highlighted. 
  4. The appellants argued that there was no irregularity and that they were appointed in compliance with the law based on the merit list. They refuted the accusation that their appointment stemmed from their familial ties.
  5. Learned counsel also contended that there is no material to show that the committee members influenced the selection process. 


  1. The Committee members have chosen their relatives for the post in order to benefit them throughout the entire selection process, which goes against legal principle.
  2. There Relatives were chosen by the District Panchayat Committee in violation of many Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Swaraj Adhiniyam, 1993 sections. Section 40(c) of the Act stipulates that office holders are not allowed to profit financially any of their relatives. Further under Sec 100, Acquisition of any interest by any member, office bearer, or employee, directly or indirectly, in any contract or employment made is expressly banned.
  3. It was contended that because the appellants whose relatives were on the selection committee were given preference in their appointments, these appointments were deemed invalid due to bias.
  4. The appellants were given ample opportunity before Commissioner as well as before single Judge to present their side, so the plea of violation of principle of natural justice is not justified and not joining them as party before the Collector did not prejudice them.


Both the Judges in the matter gave the divergent views regarding prejudice in the selection process and the breach of natural justice principles in the selection process for the position of Shiksha Karmi Grade III.


In this instance, it is believed that the conclusions made by the two quasi-judicial bodies—the writ court and the writ appellate court—are founded on an analysis of the reasonable likelihood of bias, which is understandable in that it causes prejudice in the eyes of the general public to be aroused in the minds of those who were not selected because the appellants had relationships with the members of the selection committee. The Division Bench has reaffirmed the learned Single Judge’s explanation of the thorough study of irregularities. So this Court’s exercise of jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Indian Constitution should not interfere with the aforementioned decision of the Courts. 

So accordingly the judgment passed by the Learned Single Judge as confirmed in writ appeal reaffirming the Judgment of the Collector and Commissioner, setting aside the selection of the appellants does not suffer from any infirmity. So the Appeals filed by the Appellant stands dismissed.


Under Rule 9, Archana Mishra was required to present the chosen candidates as party in the matter whose selection she was specifically challenging. Even Archana failed to add the appellants as the party it was the duty of Collector to send notice to the selected candidates to give them opportunity of presenting their side. Only the complainant, Archana Mishra, and the ex-officio respondents were listed as parties in the case before the collector. Based on inferences drawn from the records produced by the ex-officio respondents, conclusive findings were recorded by the Collector and the appointments of the appellants were set aside. For the failure of the Archana Mishra and the Collector the appellant cannot be made to pay. 

So accordingly, the appeal of the appellants were allowed and the judgments of the Division Bench was set aside.  The Appellants would be entitled to continue in service, deeming their appointment as valid and would be entitled to all Service benefits.


Due to divergent views of the Judges in the matter, the Registry is directed to place the matter before Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India for the Constitution of a larger Bench. In the meantime, the interim order passed earlier shall remain in operation.


This case is related to appointment of Shiksha Karmi Grade III in Janpad Panchayat Gaurihar, District Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh. The Judges in the matter gave divergent opinions. 

It is evident from the above-discussed account of the facts that the appellants have stressed their non-joinder from the outset when appearing before the Collector. A brief glance of the Collector’s order reveals that it rests on the counter-affidavit submitted by the Janpad Panchayat, which proves the appellants’ relationship with the selection committee members. Applying the reasonable likelihood of bias standard, the collector subsequently declared the procedure to be vitiated by bias as the member of committee appointed their relatives for the post and discriminated against another candidates as such was against the principle of law according to Sec 40(c) and Sec 100 of the Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj Avam Gram Swaraj Adhiniyam, 1993. Once again, upon challenge being made by the appellants before the revisional authority, their relationship with the members of the selection committee was not disputed yet violation of doctrine of audi altrem partem was alleged merely due to non-joinder. After hearing them, the plea of Non-impleadment did not find force before the Revisional Authority and the challenge did not succeed. Disappointed appellants filed a writ suit in the High Court, where the Learned Single Judge granted them ample of opportunity to present their side and also the permission to review the documents. The appellants did not deny their relationship with the selection committee members or argue that the conclusions were twisted or biased against them, despite being given enough opportunities by the Ld. Single Judge. 

So keeping in view all this Justice J.K. Maheshwari dismissed the Appeals of the appellants whereas Justice K.V. Viswanathan allowed the Appeal of the appellants saying that non joinder of the appellants before the Collector caused the breach of principle of Natural Justice I.e. Audi Alteram Partem  & also the further opportunity of hearing before the revisional authority to the appellants did not cure the violation of principle of Natural Justice at Original Stage.

Due to divergent views the matter was placed before the Chief Justice of India for consideration. 


It is necessary for the committee who is appointed for the appointment of candidates to stay neutral towards each and every candidate. The present case is the same where the candidates were found to be the relatives of the members of the committee due to which the biased occurred in the selection process. So this was challenged before the Collector. But the selected candidates were not given the chance to present their side which violated the principle of natural justice that is Audi Alteram Partem. It is necessary to give the opportunity of hearing to the parties at the original stage so that they can met each and every objection of the Complainant. Even if the chance of hearing is given at revision or appellate stage, the breach of principle of natural justice at Original Stage does not cure. If the Appellants had been given an opportunity at the outset of the action, the case would have been resolved at that point and would not have progressed this far. So it is necessary to follow the principle of natural justice while adjudication of any matter.


This Article is written by Sargam Bansal, G.H.G Institute of Law, Sidhwan Khurd, Intern at Legal Vidhiya.

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