Employer entitled to prescribe qualifications for eligibility to a job: HC
“Candidate has no vested right to additional weightage for ‘degree’ if prescribed qualification for job is just ‘diploma’”
Srinagar, Oct 13: “Prescription of qualification for a post is a matter of Recruitment Policy,” J&K High Court said today while setting aside a single bench judgment which had held candidates possessing Bachelor of Pharmacy (B Pharmacy) eligible for posts of junior pharmacist in the erstwhile J&K State Health Department.
Allowing the appeals by Services Selection Board and the aggrieved candidates, the division bench said that its single bench while holding that the candidates with higher degree could not be excluded from the select list, has been clearly in error.
In 2017, a single bench of the High Court had held that the candidates possessing higher Degree of B Pharmacy could not be treated as “ineligible” for the post of junior pharmacist.
The posts were advertised by the Services Selection Board (SSB) in 2013.
The bench had invalidated the select list prepared by the recruiting agency. It had also directed reframing of the list and recommended consideration of B Pharma candidates for appointment against the advertised posts.
“Participation of the writ petitioner candidates with B Pharmacy in the written test and interview or the fact that their names had figured in merit-list would not alter the situation and make them eligible for the post, especially so when the government had clearly conveyed to the Board that candidates possessing B Pharmacy were not eligible for the post,” a bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Rajnesh Oswal observed today while hearing the revision.
The two judges referred to a Supreme Court of India judgment, saying, law was settled that prescription of qualification for a post is a matter of Recruitment Policy.
They said “the State, as employer, is entitled to prescribe qualifications as a condition of eligibility after taking into consideration nature of job, aptitudes required for efficient discharge of duties, functionality of qualifications, course content leading up to acquisition of qualification, etc.”
They further said that the judicial review cannot expand upon the ambit of prescribed qualifications to decide equivalence thereof.
“In absence of specific statutory rule under which holding of higher qualification could presuppose acquisition of lower qualification, such inference cannot be drawn,” the bench said.
“It is also settled that the note of the advertisement notice postulating that mere possession of prescribed qualification would not entitle a candidate to be called for written test or interview and the Board may shortlist among eligible candidates by granting weightage to higher qualification as may be decided by it, merely indicates that Board is vested with discretion in pursuance of enabling power which it may or may not exercise, and that a candidate has no vested right to assert that Board must as a mandate assign additional weightage to higher qualification,” it added.
It held that a candidate holding the Degree of B Pharmacy is not eligible for appointment to the posts of junior pharmacist in the Health Department of previously State (now union territory) of J&K
A diploma in pharmacy was the qualification prescribed by the Board for the posts.