Legal Dispute Over Gardener Appointments: Supreme Court Ruling

A significant legal case revolving around Gardener appointments has reached a conclusion with the Supreme Court’s ruling. The case involved a dispute over appointments in the State of Odisha, with implications for the recruitment process in public posts. Learn about the key points of the judgment and its impact on the involved parties.


  • On March 7, 2012, the State decided to abolish the post of Gardener.
  • The candidates were to be selected as per the guidelines in terms of the selection procedure circulated.
  • The Agriculture and Cooperation Department of Odisha approved a ten-month course for pre-service training of Gardeners.
  • The appellants were directed to reinstate the services of the applicants along with payment of consequential benefits including 50% of their salary and allowances after the applications were allowed on September 13, 2006.
  • The decision became the subject matter of challenge before the Odisha Administrative Tribunal in several cases.
  • The State and the Director of Horticulture, Odisha filed writ petitions before the High Court against the decision.
  • The recruitment of Gardeners was to be done through an open advertisement and the candidates were to undergo ten months training in the School of Horticulture, Odisha.
  • All candidates trained up to the year 1990 were absorbed.
  • The Director of Horticulture decided to impart pre-service Gardener’s Training in the Departmental farms in the year 1998-1999.
  • The High Court dismissed the writ petitions filed by the State against the order dated September 13, 2006, on December 5, 2009.
  • The Director of Horticulture was directed not to give any employment or any financial assistance to candidates who have been selected irregularly and imparted training at places other than the School of Horticulture, Khurda.
  • The Tribunal allowed certain applications seeking appointment as a Gardener.
  • On April 24, 2001, services of six persons as mentioned in the letter of Director of Horticulture were terminated.
  • The procedure for selecting candidates in all the 30 districts was to be made by a committee chaired by the Deputy Director of Horticulture in each range.
  • The Tribunal decided nine OAs by a common order setting aside the Government’s decision not to fill up the posts of Gardener and create equal number of posts of Horticulture Extension Workers.
  • All trainees who took training outside the School of Horticulture, Khurda were considered the same, and a selective approach by the Department was deemed inappropriate.
  • Appointed trainees were protected under Article 311 of the Constitution as they were appointed against substantive vacancies and had served for almost two years.
  • The decision was made on May 9, 2012, to abolish the post of Gardener when the incumbent retires or is promoted, with directions to consider appointments in other OAs.
  • Termination orders of appointed trainees were challenged in separate applications before the Tribunal and were later allowed on June 27, 2014.
  • The State was directed to consider the applicants for appointment against existing vacant Gardener posts as per the High Court order.
  • An inquiry was ordered on May 11, 1999, which led to the decision to dispense with the services of six selected by the Director of Horticulture.

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  • Training was proposed in ten selected departmental farms without assurance of appointment in a communication dated July 4, 1998.
  • Circular of the State Government stated that training does not guarantee appointment.
  • Appointments made were outside of any known selection procedure for public posts, hence not protected by Article 311 or Orissa Civil Services Rules.
  • Some Gardeners were appointed from attendants based on a rehabilitation scheme, not all through training eligibility.
  • Out of 1359 applicants, 362 were selected for training without clear criteria.
  • Illegally appointed candidates cannot claim perpetuation of illegality by seeking parity with them.
  • Training was not as per the decision of Director of Horticulture but in departmental farms without transparent selection process.
  • 362 candidates were selected irregularly for training in departmental farms.
  • Six candidates were appointed surreptitiously leading to termination of their services.
  • Appointments directed by the Tribunal and upheld by the High Court to make appointments are contrary to statutory rules and procedures.
  • The post of Gardener was never advertised even during the appointment of six candidates.
  • Stand of the State regarding Horticulture Extension Worker as a promotion post from Gardener is contested.
  • The orders passed by the Tribunal and affirmed by the High Court were deemed unjustified in law.
  • No guarantee of employment after completion of training
  • Trainees must understand that employment is not guaranteed
  • Contemplation of uncertainty regarding employment post-training

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  • The High Court has affirmed that the candidates are intended to be employed.
  • It is not necessary to determine if the post of Gardener has been upgraded to Horticulture Extension Worker or if it’s the same post with a different name.
  • Opportunity must be given to all candidates to apply and compete for public posts.
  • Direction for appointment solely based on training undergone by candidates is unjustified.
  • Termination of the appointed persons does not grant any rights to other candidates based on equity.
  • Training was only planned in the School of Horticulture, Khurda during 1998-1999.
  • The principle of equality before the law mandates that there cannot be any parity in the illegality.
  • Chandigarh Administration and Anr. v. Jagjit Singh and Anr.: The appellant authorities were accused of not complying with the order of reinstating the respondent into service leading to contempt proceedings.
  • Kulwinder Pal Singh and Anr. v. State of Punjab and Ors.: The appellants were involved in a dispute regarding the implementation of the directions given by the High Court which led to filing of contempt petition.

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  • The order of the Odisha Administrative Tribunal directing the State to appoint the applicants as Gardeners is beyond their jurisdiction vested in the High Court.
  • There cannot be any direction for making appointment to a public post in such a manner.
  • The appeals have been allowed, setting aside the orders of the High Court and the Tribunal.
  • The OAs filed by the applicants are dismissed.


Case Number: C.A. No.-006227-006228 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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