The Court upheld Dr Zammit Vincenti’s request to stop the process before the PSC once same doctor felt prejudiced in his right to a fair and impartial hearing before the same PSC.
The facts revolved around the post for a Consultant Surgeon at MDH, where two applicants showed interest. Following a close contest, plaintiff placed second but filed a petition before the PSC. He requested PSC to give him information so as to be in a better position to make his case, but PSC refused to do so.
The Court rejected the PSC’s submission to the effect that the plaintiff had simply to make a case as to why he should have obtained higher marks. The Court concluded that, in terms of the relative regulations, the appointment should be based on the “principle of merit” – and hence the whole process before the PSC was not limited to the petitioner proving he deserved more marks, but also whether the chosen candidate was in fact the candidate who most merited the post.
The Court concluded that the PSC’s interpretation and application of the regulations whereby the whole relative file is not, at the least, made available to the petitioner for review, was in fact, at a first glance, in breach of the petitioner’s rights to make his case before the PSC.
The Court concluded that of the plaintiff is not given access to all the information as found in the relative file, then he will be prejudiced in his proceedings before the PSC as he will remain void of the information he needs to make his case. The Court said that even though the post is an important post at MDH, yet the PSC has to ensure that things are done the right way, and the petition process was the due course open to the plaintiff. The Court thus wanted to safeguard the plaintiff’s rights to a fair hearing before the same PSC.
During the proceedings before the Court, the PSC exhibited a result sheet which was different to that communicated to the candidates. The Court said that such matters continue to convince the Court that the plaintiff should have access to all documentation from scrutiny from his end, and it reserved the right of the plaintiff to file Police proceedings to investigate whether there was a criminal offence in this regard.
Plaintiff was assisted by Ian Spiteri Bailey and Victoria Cuschieri whereas the AG’s office represented PSC.