Higher qualification may not be suitable qualification for every post: Division Bench

Higher qualification may not be suitable qualification for every post: Division Bench

JAMMU: Division Bench of High Court comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal has held that higher qualification may not be suitable qualification for every post and, if candidates with higher qualifications are excluded, the action on the part of the employer cannot be faulted with and said to be unfair or arbitrary.

These observations were made by the Division Bench while upholding the order of Central Administrative Tribunal and dismissing the petition filed by 348 persons.
In all, 348 persons have invoked the extraordinary jurisdiction of court to challenge the order dated 06.08.2021 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench in Original Application No. 1107 of 2021 titled Rohit Chib and Others Versus Service Selection Board, J&K UT.

“The order of the Tribunal is an interlocutory order by which the Original Application of the petitioners has been entertained but they have been denied interim order as prayed for on the ground that the grant of the same would amount to granting the final relief which is not permissible in law”, the DB said, adding “the short controversy which actually arises in the original application or as a matter of fact in the writ petition is as to whether petitioners are entitled to grant of interim protection pending the original application which is dependent upon the eligibility of the petitioners to participate in the selection for the post of Class-IV employees in the various departments of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir”.

The Advertisement No.1 of 2020 dated 26.06.2020 invited applications for appointment of 8575 employees on Class-IV posts with one of the conditions that the minimum and maximum qualification for appointment under direct recruitment shall be “matric and 10+2” with the further condition that any candidate having qualification other than prescribed shall not be eligible for Class-IV post. The petitioners are candidates who are graduates or possessing even higher qualification and, as such, have been denied participation in the selection process.
“It is well settled and recognized that appointments on public posts have to be made strictly in accordance with the Rules of service or the terms and conditions of the advertisement”, the DB said while quoting several judgments of the Supreme Court.

After hearing Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi with Advocate Parimoksh Seth for the petitioners where as Advocate General DC Raina for the UT, the DB observed, “the appointment to Class-IV posts in Jammu and Kashmir Public Service has to be in accordance with the Jammu and Kashmir Appointment to Class-IV (Special Recruitment) Rules, 2020 as promulgated vide S.O. 184 dated 04.06.2020 issued in exercise of powers under Article 309 of the Constitution of India”.

“These Rules specifically provide that the Board—Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board shall invite applications from the persons who are domiciled in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and who possess minimum and maximum educational qualification as prescribed in notification SRO 99 of 2008 dated 07.04.2008”, the DB said, adding “the appointment to such posts has to be on the basis of the suitability vis-a-vis the qualification held by the person and the nature of the job, for which purpose the decision of the employer is final provided it is not arbitrary in nature”.

“In other words, the suitability and the qualifications for any post have to be laid down by the employer and the same are not liable to be interfered with judicially, until and unless the policy decision in that regard is found to be irrational or arbitrary”, the DB said, adding “the laying down of the criteria of the minimum and the maximum qualification for the Class-IV post as matric and 10+2 respectively is neither irrational, unreasonable nor arbitrary”. (Daily Excelsior)