The government will soon put a ban on campus recruitments by public sector undertakings (PSUs), including banks. The move follows advice from the law ministry that such recruitment “may be questioned as an unconstitutional way of recruitment to public employment” and may amount to “discrimination”.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the High Court of Madras had banned campus recruitment by PSUs in an order dated September 7, 2015. The court had made the order while hearing a 2014 petition, which said that when PSUs recruit from campuses of premium or private colleges, students from government institutes get excluded from the process.
The process was resumed after the High Court affirmed in 2015 that it was a “time tested” method and helped PSUs find “best talent”, which otherwise is lured away by multinationals and private companies.
The legal affairs department of the ministry of law and justice has, however, cited a Supreme Court decision and advised the government that campus interviews deny fundamental rights of other candidates. “Article 141 of the Constitution provides that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India,” the department told the government last month, according to the Express report.
The Supreme Court, in August 2013, had upheld a Bombay High Court order from April 2013 which said campus interviews “trampled the fundamental rights” of other candidates, by violating the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 (equality before law) and Article 16 (equality of opportunities in matters of public employment) of the Constitution. The process in vogue, the court said, was unfair to citizens who were not enrolled in any college or institution, or the specific ones visited by PSUs for recruitment.
The apex court had dismissed the petition challenging the High Court order in the Sonali Pramod Dhawade versus Central Bank of India case, which argued that recruitment for permanent vacancies in public employment should be made after inviting applications from the public at large.
Currently, most Maharatna PSUs, the category of public sector undertakings with the highest average annual net profit and maximum financial autonomy, as well as public sector banks recruit middle-level officers after making visits to campuses of top engineering and business schools.