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SMS Notification Of Physical Examination And Document Verification Is Sufficient For Selection Process Of Police Constable Recruitment: Hon’ble SC [READ JUDGMENT]

In State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. v. Pankaj Kumar, the Hon’ble apex court ruled that after an SMS was delivered to the candidate’s registered mobile phone number, he could not later claim a right to participate in the selection process after failing to attend it.

By: Rashi Jain, SOA National Institute of Law

The Hon’ble Supreme Court ruled that informing candidates via SMS on their registered mobile number about physical tests and document verification for police constable recruitment is good communication, and a candidate cannot challenge the recruitment because no separate written communication was received.

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna ruled that once an SMS was issued to a candidate on the mobile phone number he entered while applying, he could not claim the right to participate in the selection process afterward, failing to appear despite being notified via SMS on that number.

“When there can be no dispute that the respondent had 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 convenience request to be permitted to participate in the selection process which has already concluded, not having utilized the opportunity which was available to him,” the Court held.

The decision was made in response to an appeal filed by the State of Uttar Pradesh against an Allahabad High Court decision from 2019.

Pankaj Kumar, the respondent, applied for the position of Police Constable in the Provincial Armed Constabulary (Men) in 2015. By SMS, he was summoned for a physical fitness test and paperwork verification. The respondent allegedly did not show up due to a lack of written communication.

The State government, represented by counsel Pradeep Misra, contended that the respondent squandered the opportunity due to his carelessness.

It was also said that physical examination and document verification were extended till September 19, 2018, and that the process has now been completed in all respects.

The respondent candidate’s counsel, Advocate Sarvesh Kumar Dubey, maintained that notice had to be delivered via post and that an SMS containing the examination date was insufficient.

The appellant authorities were accused of failing to comply with the requirements outlined in the Uttar Pradesh (Civil Police) Constable and Head Constable Rules, 2008. According to the respondent, a call letter was necessary to be given via post according to the rule. Simply sending an SMS informing the date of the next step in the selection process would not be enough.

Dubey went on to say that the procedure took three years and that it is unreasonable to expect someone to have the same phone number for that long.

The Court, on the other hand, dismissed the respondent’s arguments.

It was ruled that the Rules allow for contact via post or any other means.“In that view, there is no bar in intimating the candidates through SMS, more particularly when a large number of candidates had to appear in the subsequent process and the majority of the candidates have appeared for document verification and physical fitness test under intimation by SMS,” the Court said.

Concerning the argument that a mobile number may change over a lengthy period, the Court stated that this could occur even about a postal address.

“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 their interest such intimation is to be made,” the Court said.

There was no doubt that the respondent had the same mobile number as the plaintiff in this case. “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,” the Court said.

As a result, the Court granted the appeal and reversed the Allahabad High Court’s decision.

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