Rashid Paul

J&K HC directs SSRB to accord requisite weightage to candidates for higher qualifications

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court Tuesday upheld its single bench order, directing the Services Selection Recruitment Board (SSRB) to consider additional points for higher qualification of candidates who had inadvertently omitted to fill them in their online applications for the post of teachers advertised in 2017.

The division of justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul directed the recruiting agency to redraw the list expeditiously within two weeks.

The Board had in 2017 invited applications from eligible candidates for selection against the posts of teachers and issued some 40 notifications in 2017 in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Thereafter, the Board declared results and published provisional shortlists with respect to the notifications on the basis of assigning 85 points to the written test, five points to the B. Ed qualification, five points to the M. Ed, two points for post-graduate degrees and certain other points for M Phil and Ph D candidates.

After issuance of the provisional shortlists, a number of representations were filed by certain competing candidates before the Board stating that they have not been given the additional points for higher qualification on the ground of having been omitted in their online application forms.

When no decision on the representations was taken by the SSRB, the candidates approached the Writ Court seeking a direction upon the Board to award appropriate points to them for possessing higher qualification, work out their merit accordingly and call them for counseling.

The petitions were disposed of by a single judge bench and agreed with their plea.

Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the view of the single judge direction, the Board assailed its validity and filed an appeal.

Hearing the matter the division bench today dismissed the appeals filed by the Board and allowed the petitions of the aggrieved candidates.

The court also quashed the orders passed by the Board in regard to the claim of the writ petitioners.

“The Board is directed to assign appropriate points to all the relevant qualifications omitted by the Writ petitioners in their online application forms, including the qualification of B. Ed, to the credit of the Writ petitioners, of course, in case the same have been acquired by these petitioners prior to the last cut-off date of the advertisement notice concerned; evaluate their merit on the basis of such award of points,” ordered the court.

It also directed the Board to redraw the final selection list(s) for the posts in question, accordingly.

“This exercise shall be undertaken and concluded by the Board expeditiously, and, in any case, not later than eight weeks from the date of this order,” it directed.

Refereeing to an earlier judgment of similar nature by the court, it said the action of the Board is “deprecated the practice of blind faith of recruitment agencies on machines”.

It said “the mistake is grave when seen from the side of scanning agency’s perspective, the scanning agency cannot take refuge in a technicality of it being a machine-based practice without any human intervention”.

“The lackadaisical approach of the respondent/Board leaves one to wonder as to why the whole recruitment board is not taken over by robots as that would leave it 100 percent without human intervention. True it is that machines have lessened the human labor, and in many developed countries the machines are often being used for advantage, but the supervision is always with a human being in the capacity of the architect and creator of such machines. This supervision is missing in the instant case making the plea raised by the respondent board that the application forms are scanned by the machine, in its defense as untenable,” read the judgment.

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