Patna High Court: Chakradhari Sharan Singh, J. dismissed the application challenging the guidelines on determining merit on the basis of work experience.

A petition was filed challenging the engagement of an Accountant on contractual basis under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Extension (ATMA Yojana) at the District/Block level under the guidelines issued by the Director Bihar Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute (BAMETI). Clause 11 of the guidelines dealt with determination of merit points for the post of accountant, on the basis of percentage of marks secured by candidates in different examinations (Matriculation and intermediate). Sub Clausekha” (Hindi Alphabet) of Clause 11 of the guidelines stipulated giving weightage to those candidates who had work experience of more than the minimum work-experience prescribed under the guidelines.

The Court noted that for considering ‘work experience’ as minimum eligibility condition, the experience of having worked in a ‘private organization’, as an Accountant, had been made admissible. Hence any person who possessed experience of having worked for three years under the State Government of Bihar or the Government of India or any Semi-Government Organizations/Autonomous Organizations under the Central Government or the State Government or any reputed Private Organizations dealing with agriculture, was eligible to be considered. However, Sub Clause “kha” of Clause 11 of the guidelines did not include experience gained by a person having worked in a private organization.

The only grievance of the petitioner was that weightage should be given to him for his work experience in a private organization. The petitioner has thus challenged the letter whereby it was notified that weightage against work experience shall be given, only if such experience has been gained while working in the categories mentioned above.

The counsel on behalf of the petitioner relied on Clause 2 of the guidelines and argued that work experience in a private organization dealing with the agriculture was a valid and recognized qualification and in that background, subsequent guidelines dated 22.07.2019 denying work experience under a private organization for the purpose of grant of weightage, was arbitrary and illegal.

The Court held that it was evincible on a perusal of Clause 2.1 of the guidelines that three years’ work experience in Government/Semi-Government/Autonomous Organizations under the State Government and even in Private Organizations was a valid minimum eligibility qualification for being considered for selection and appointment as an Accountant. There was a clear distinction between Clause 2 and Clause 11 of the guidelines which could be easily noticed since Clause 11 did not prescribe giving weightage to candidates who have acquired work experience in a private organization.[Rajeev Ranjan v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1783, decided on 15-10-2019]

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