Pat HC | Selection for Angan Bari Sevika based on predominance of caste, without ascertaining number of beneficiaries, defeats the purpose of ICDS Scheme

Patna High Court: The Bench of Madhuresh Prasad, J. dismissed a civil writ petition, challenging cancellation of a lady’s appointment as Angan Bari Sevika, holding that the petition was devoid of merits.

The instant petition was filed praying for quashing the order issued by the District Programme Officer (DPO) whereby and whereunder petitioner’s selection as Angan Bari Sevika had been cancelled. The Court, at the very outset, noted that the petition had been filed without challenging the DPO’s order.

Contention of the respondent-State, as well as the private respondent, was that the Aam Sabha, wherein the petitioner was selected, was conducted in absence of the Child Development Project Officer. Further, the number of beneficiaries in the service area was not ascertained prior to petitioner’ selection.

Learned counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Sanjay Kumar, submitted that the population of Scheduled Caste for the Center in question was 300, the population of Extremely Backward Class was 150, the population of Backward Class was 250 and population of General Class was 400. Petitioner, being a member of the General Class, was of the predominant class in the area and, therefore, her selection was rightly done by the Aam Sabha. Further, the determination as to the number of beneficiaries was not relevant in terms of the Circular dated 25-09-2001 issued by the Social Welfare Department, Government of Bihar.

The Court noted that the concerned Circular clearly contemplated that selection for Angan Bari Sevika must be done from the predominant class based on the population of beneficiaries. In view of such situation, selection of a candidate on the basis of predominance of caste or class without ascertaining the number of beneficiaries, i.e., actual population below poverty line within the various castes/class, could not be sustained and would defeat the very purpose of social welfare sought to be achieved by the Integrated Child Development Scheme through establishment of Angan Bari Centre. Thus, it was held that the selection of petitioner had rightly been cancelled.[Nirmala Kumari v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 566, Order dated 22-04-2019]

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