In the Matter of V. Sundararaj v Registrar General a writ petition was filed opposing the notification released by the Government of Tamil Nadu Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Department, and to quash the same as illegal and subsequently order the Principal Secretary to obtain permission from the Supreme Court before issuing any such notification in the future in regards to the recruitment for the posts of Members and Presidents in the State and District Consumer Forums. The main argument against the impugned notification is that it is based on rules that were created by the Central Government in 2020, some of which the Bombay High Court found to violate the Indian Constitution. These rules include Rule 3(2)(b), Rule 4(2)(c), and Rule 6(9). Notification based on a regulation that doesn’t exist is thus illegal.
Analysis of Court Verdict
The disputed notifications were declared invalid in law by the division bench of Madras High Court Justices R. Subramanian and L. Victoria Gowri. Furthermore, the ongoing selection process after that was abandoned.
Despite the Supreme Court monitoring the States’ actions in filling the vacancies in the Consumer Fora, the Court claimed that the State had waited too long to make the nominations. Furthermore, the Bombay High Court’s ruling had not been put on hold by the Supreme Court while the Special Leave Petition was being considered. The Court concluded that the Rules pertaining to experience, such as Rules 3(2)(b), 4(2)(c), and 6(9), were absent from the statute book on the day the State published the challenged notifications. As a result, applicants who did not possess the necessary experience in accordance with the Rules that were invalidated were either unable to apply or were prohibited from doing so.
The Court emphasised that once a Central Law or Rule is declared unconstitutional by a High Court, it is permanently erased from the statute book regarding the entire Nation. It is not possible to claim that a Central Law or Rule is only invalid within the jurisdiction of a specific High Court while remaining valid elsewhere. The Court declared the contested notices to be unlawful and so revoked them. Furthermore, the ongoing selection process after that was abandoned. The State Government was also ordered by the Court to take the necessary steps to make new appointments in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directives.