The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh recently observed that any qualification higher than that prescribed for a particular position may not be an appropriate qualification and that the employer, in its wisdom, is justified in excluding applicants with a higher qualification from the scope of selection.
It is important to note that the House of Judge Sanjay Dhar and Judge Ali Mohammad Magrey observed that the establishment of the minimum and maximum qualification criteria for the Class IV position as matrix and 10 + 2, respectively, is not irrational, unreasonable or arbitrary
The case in court
Essentially, the Court was dealing with a letter patent appeal filed by the appellant challenging the Single Judge’s order in which he ruled that candidates with higher qualifications are not eligible when the advertisement notice. prescribes minimum and maximum qualifications.
With this, the court declared that the appellant was overqualified for the post of assistant (class-IV) [in Jammu and Kashmir Public Service] and, therefore, could not apply for the post in question.
Challenging the same, he moved past the Dvision bench.
During the otuset, the Court noted that appointment to Class IV posts in the civil service of Jammu and Kashmir must be in accordance with Jammu and Kashmir’s appointment rules to Class IV (special recruitment) , 2020.
The Court also noted that a government notification issued for the purpose of recruiting Class IV posts, the minimum and maximum qualification will be matrix and 10 + 2, respectively, even the advertisement notification in question also specifically provides for the same qualification.
It is important to note that with regard to the employer’s discretion to award qualification to a particular post, the Court noted that the suitability and qualifications for any post must be determined by the employer and the they are not susceptible to judicial interference, until and unless the political decision in this regard is found to be irrational or arbitrary.
In this context, referring to the case of appointments to Class IV posts, the Court thus observed:
“… a qualification higher than the prescribed 10 + 2 may not be suitable for many reasons; the first one since a highly qualified person may not be able to perform the menial work that must be performed by a Class IV employee; Secondly, if these highly qualified candidates are allowed to compete with less qualified candidates, as prescribed, it is obvious that they will score higher than them and would be selected to the detriment of candidates possessing the required eligibility; and thirdly, such higher qualifying candidates, if selected, would always be looking for a better job and, as soon as they were selected into another better discipline, they would leave the Class IV position, making the entire selection unnecessary, in addition to forcing the employer to have these positions re-advertised and re-filled.”
The Court also referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Managing Director, Punjab National Bank & Another v. Anit Kumar Das, Civil Appeal No. 3602 of 2020, in which, it was observed that the qualification of 12th passage for the position of PÃ©ons in the Bank is justified because it is a conscious decision taken by the Bank and no candidate with a higher qualification can be recognized as eligible for the post.
Finally, dismissing the appeal, the Court added as follows:
“What we mean is that a higher qualification may not be an appropriate qualification for every position and, if applicants with higher qualifications are excluded, the learned Single Judge’s point of view in this regard does not. can be blamed and considered illegal or perverse.. “
Case title – Firdous Ahmad Ganai v. JK & Ors State
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