Term ‘equivalent’ should be given a reasonable meaning

Himachal Pradesh High Court– Deciding the writ petition which is filed challenging the refusal of appointment of the petitioner for the post of lecturer in Automobile Engineering, Class-1 (Gazetted) on the ground of not having requisite qualification, a bench of Mansoor Ahmad Mir CJ, held that the respondents have deprived the petitioner of his legitimate right of being appointed as the lecturer even after obtaining permission and recommendation from the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission. The Court allowed the petition and appreciated the fact that Petitioner made grade in the written examination as well as in the interview and had all the requisite qualification papers in order. The Court also referred to relevant judgments of apex Court, Chandrakala Trivedi v. State of Rajasthan (2012) 3 SCC 129, wherein it was held that the word “equivalent” must be given a reasonable meaning and if a person is provisionally selected, it is not within the powers of the department to refuse appointment when he has been found suitable by the Commission and recommendation has been made for his appointment.

In the present case, the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission had invited applications for filling up of the posts of lecturers in Automobile Engineering, Class-1 (Gazetted). Petitioner had applied for the post and was called for written examination after his qualification certificates and other credentials were scrutinized. After qualifying the written examination and also the interview, the Commission recommended the petitioner for appointment. However, the Respondents 1 and 2 refused giving reason that the qualification of B. Tech. in Automobile Engineering is not equivalent to the qualification of the B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering. In response, the petitioner presented equivalence certificate issued by the Lovely Professional University, which clearly indicated that B. Tech. in Automobile Engineering is equivalent to B. Tech. in Mechanical Engineering which was ignored by the Respondents.

The Court stated that the Respondents’ action of not taking equivalence certificate into consideration was not justified and directed the respondents to consider the recommendation made by the Public Service Commission. Anshul Sharma v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 2015 SCC OnLine HP 835, decided on 10.4.2015

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