In a tightly contested race for appointment or selection, the party losing out narrowly might allege favouritism.
If favouritism is indeed suspected by the inquiry officer, it would be better to scrap the appointment and start the selection process afresh instead of awarding the position to one of the losers who came in a close second in the race.
In Sr. Divisional Retail Sales Manager, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and others vs Ashok Shankarlal Gwalani , the apex court did not agree with the Bombay High Court, which chose to award dealership of the petrol bunk to the next in line, in terms of merit, when the award to the first one was successfully assailed.
The Supreme Court pointed out that in such circumstances there is likely to be no end to recriminations, with the loser again alleging malpractices in selection.
To put an end to such unsavoury developments, it would be better to scrap the selection process and start de novo said the Supreme Court.
(The author is a New Delhi based chartered accountant.)