2017(2) ALL MR 166
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY (AURANGABAD BENCH)

S. S. SHINDE AND SANGITRAO S. PATIL, JJ.

Inesh Dasarya Gavit Vs. The State of Maharashtra & Ors.

Writ Petition No.4167 of 2016

12th April, 2016.

Petitioner Counsel: Mr. N.B. SURYAWANSHI, holding for D.J. PATIL
Respondent Counsel: Mr. S.B. YAWALKAR

Constitution of India, Art.16 - Appointment to the post of Live Stock Supervisor - Candidate not possessing requisite qualification as prescribed in advertisement - But claiming to have equivalent qualification - Held, such candidate cannot be declared eligible by Court - It is not for Courts to decide whether a particular educational qualification should or should not be accepted as equivalent to the prescribed qualification - Candidate not entitled to any relief. (Paras 9, 10, 11, 12)

Cases Cited:
State of Rajasthan and Ors. Vs. Lata Arun, AIR 2002 SC 2642 [Para 10]
Sanjay Kumar Manjul Vs. Chairman, UPSC & Ors., [2006] 8 SCC 42 [Para 10]
P.M. Latha and another Vs. State of Kerala and Ors., [2003] 3 SCC 541 [Para 10]
Prakash Chand Meena and others Vs. State of Rajasthan and Ors., [2015] 8 SCC 484 [Para 10,11]


JUDGMENT

S. S. Shinde, J. :- This Petition takes exception to the impugned communication dated 12th February, 2016, issued by respondent no. 4.

2. It is the case of the petitioner that, the petitioner is a Tribal and belongs to Scheduled Tribe category. After completing SSC and HSC Examination, the petitioner completed Diploma in Agriculture from Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri in the Year 2002-04. In the year 2012, the petitioner obtained B.A. [Hindi] degree and in the Year 2013, B.P.Ed. degree. Presently, the petitioner is prosecuting post graduation studies in Hindi. The petitioner possesses certificates of M.S. office and UIDAI.

3. It is further the case of the petitioner that, on 10.10.2015, respondent no. 1 issued an advertisement for filling up various posts including the posts of Live Stock Supervisors. The petitioner, being eligible, applied for the said post. The petitioner, after scrutiny of applications, was found eligible and hence was called for written examination of 200 marks which was conducted by the respondents on 28.11.2015. The result of the said examination was declared on 02.12.2015 and the petitioner was found to have acquired highest marks amongst 11 candidates, who were shortlisted for appointment. On 11-12-2015, the petitioner was called for interview, and on the said date he was interviewed.

4. It is further the case of the petitioner that, at the time of interview, the documents of the petitioner were verified and at that time the petitioner was told that, since the petitioner did not possess the requisite qualifications as prescribed in the advertisement, he was not qualified for the appointment to the said post. It is further the case of the petitioner that, on 29.12.2015, the petitioner submitted a detailed representation pointing out the subjects which the petitioner studied while prosecuting studies of Diploma in Agriculture, which according to him are the very same subjects, which are mentioned in the advertisement.

5. It is further the case of the petitioner that, vide impugned communication dated 12.02.2016, the petitioner has been intimated that, he is disqualified from being appointed to the post of Live Stock Supervisor, though the petitioner is a meritorious candidate, having requisite qualifications and having secured highest marks amongst 11 candidates, who are shortlisted for being appointed to the said post, yet the respondents, arbitrarily denied appointment to the petitioner.

6. The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that, the petitioner applied for the post of Live Stock Supervisor. He is fully qualified for the said post. He has completed SSC and HSC Examinations and also Diploma in Agriculture from Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri. Thereafter, he completed B.A. [Hindi] in the Year 2012 and B.P.Ed. in the year 2013. He further submits that, petitioner's application was accepted. He appeared for the written examination. He has also cleared the said examination. He was called for interview, and therefore, at that stage it was not appropriate on the part of the respondents to inform the petitioner that, the petitioner did not possess the requisite qualification prescribed in the advertisement. Therefore, he submits that, the Petition may be allowed.

7. On the other hand, the learned AGP appearing for the respondent - State submits that, since the petitioner was not possessing the requisite qualification for the above said post, his candidature has been rightly turned down. Therefore, he submits that, the Petition may be rejected.

8. We carefully considered the submissions of the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and learned AGP appearing for the respondent-State. With their able assistance, we perused the pleadings in the Petition and annexures thereto. The petitioner has placed on record copy of advertisement at Exhibit-D Page 27 to 35. The qualification prescribed for post of Live Stock Supervisor in the said advertisement is as under:

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9. Admittedly, the petitioner does not possess the educational qualification as mentioned in the advertisement. It is the contention of the petitioner that, qualification possessed by him be treated as equivalent to the qualification prescribed in the advertisement.

10. The contentions raised in the Petition by the petitioner gave rise to a question whether the Court can decide a particular educational qualification should or should not be accepted as equivalent to the qualification prescribed by the Authority. The Supreme Court in the case of State of Rajasthan and others Vs. Lata Arun, AIR 2002 SC 2642, after considering the ratio laid down in the earlier pronouncements of the Supreme Court of which reference is made in para 10 and 11 of the said judgment, held that, the prescribed eligibility qualification for admission to a course or for recruitment to or promotion in service are the matters to be considered by the appropriate authority. It is not for the Courts to decide whether a particular educational qualification should or should not be accepted as equivalent to the qualification prescribed by the authority.

In another authoritative pronouncement in the case of Sanjay Kumar Manjul Vs. Chairman, UPSC & others, [2006] 8 SCC 42, it is held that, the qualifications for recruitment to a post are laid down in terms of the statutory rules. The statutory authority is entitled to frame the statutory rules laying down the terms and conditions of service as also the qualifications essential for holding a particular post. It is only the authority concerned which can take ultimate decision therefor.

In the case of P.M. Latha and another Vs. State of Kerala and others, [2003] 3 SCC 541 the Supreme Court while considering the arguments that, B.Ed. qualification is a higher qualification than TTC and therefore the BEd candidates should be held to be eligible to compete for the post, has held as under:

There is no force in the argument that BEd qualification is a higher qualification than TTC and therefore the BEd candidates should be held to be eligible to compete for the post. On behalf of the appellants it is pointed out that Trained Teacher's Certificate is given to teachers specially trained to teach small children in primary classes whereas for BEd degree the training imparted is to teach students of classes above primary. BEd degree-holders, therefore, cannot necessarily be held to be holding qualification suitable for appointment as teachers in primary schools. Whether for a particular post, the source of recruitment should be from the candidates with TTC qualification or BEd qualification is a matter of recruitment policy. There is sufficient logic and justification in the State prescribing qualification for post of primary teachers as only TTC and not BEd. Whether BEd qualification can also be prescribed for primary teachers is a question to be considered by the authorities concerned but the Court cannot consider BEd candidates for the present vacancies advertised, as eligible.

In the case of Prakash Chand Meena and others Vs. State of Rajasthan and others, [2015] 8 SCC 484, while considering the issue of equivalence of qualification, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that, recruitment process must be completed as per the terms and conditions in the advertisement and as per Rules existing when the recruitment process began.

11. In the present case, admittedly, the petitioner has not challenged the advertisement that, it omitted to mention equivalent qualification 'Diploma in Agriculture' for the post of Live Stock Supervisor. The petitioner participated in the selection process in pursuance of the advertisement wherein qualification possessed by the petitioner is not mentioned as the requisite qualification for the post of Live Stock Supervisor. The Supreme Court while considering the similar fact situation, as has arisen in the present Petition, in the case of Prakash Chand Meena and others Vs. State of Rajasthan and others [supra] in para 9 held thus:

9. The candidates who were aware of the advertisement and did not have the qualification of CPED also had two options, either to apply only for PTI Gr. II if they had the necessary qualification for that post or to challenge the advertisement that it omitted to mention equivalent or higher qualification along with qualification of CPED for the post of PTI Gr. III. Having not challenged the advertisement and having applied for the other post, they could not have subsequently claimed or be granted eligibility on the basis of equivalence clarified or declared subsequently by the State Government. In the matter of eligibility qualification, the equivalent qualification must be recognised as such in the recruitment rules or government order existing on or before the initiation of recruitment process. In the present case, this process was initiated through advertisement inviting application which did not indicate that equivalent or higher qualification holders were eligible to apply nor were the equivalent qualifications reflected in the recruitment rules or government orders of the relevant time.

12. Therefore, in the light of the discussion in the foregoing paragraphs, it is not for the Courts to decide whether a particular educational qualification should or should not be accepted as equivalent to the qualification prescribed by the authority. Therefore, the petitioner is not entitled for the reliefs prayed for in the Petition, hence, the Petition stands rejected.

Petition dismissed.