A division bench comprising Justices Janardan Sahai and Rakesh Sharma, while turning down the government appeal challenging the three-month-old single judge order, however, gave the state the option to order a fresh enquiry into the alleged irregularities in the recruitment process.
"We confirm the decision of the single judge though our reasoning may be different," the bench said delivering the judgement in an open court.
The court was of the view that the state government had annulled the appointments of the police personnel without providing them an opportunity of a hearing which was in gross violation of principles of natural justice.
The judgement drew cheers from thousands of personnel present on the premises who shouted slogans of "High Court zindabad" and "Mayawati murdabad" and smeared gulal on other's faces describing it as "Holi celebrations in advance".
On December 8 last year, a single judge bench had allowed the writ petitions filed by the dismissed personnel, who had challenged the termination of their services by the Bahujan Samaj Party government in September 2007, less than a year after having assumed power in Uttar Pradesh, for alleged irregularities in recruitment process.
The decision by Mayawati government had stirred a controversy with allegations being made against officials heading the recruitment boards that they had accepted bribes and sexually exploited women candidates.
A number of officials, including senior Indian Police Service officers of upto Additional Director General rank, were placed under suspicion, which were revoked after they gave a written apology stating that they had acted under political pressure.
The opposition Samajwadi Party headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav had termed the entire episode as political vendetta by BSP supremo Mayawati.
The SP had also vowed to get all the affected police personnel reinstated upon its return to power.
The petitioners claimed that while discrepancies found in the recruitments were only a handful, no effort was made to separate the good from the tainted.
The court had, while setting aside the state government's order cancelling the recruitments, observed that none of the petitioners were served with notice or were involved in the inquiry conducted by the state government or heard at any time before or after their appointments were cancelled.
The court was also of the view that an exercise to separate the good from the tainted should have been undertaken as the decision affected the lives of more than 18,000 selected constables and their families.
"The enormity of such an exercise should not be a ground to bypass it," the court noted.