HP HC | A beneficial provision must be meaningfully construed so as to advance the object of the Act, and curing any lacuna or defect appearing in the same

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of L. Narayana Swamy, CJ and Jyotsna Rewal Dua, J. dismissed the appeal being devoid of any merit.

Brief facts of the case are, a selection process for appointment to the post of part time water carrier in Government Primary School was undertaken wherein the petitioner and appellant participated with ten other candidates and both were awarded five marks each for donating land for school and appellant was declared selected. The awarding of five marks each was in terms of a policy framed by the State of Himachal Pradesh for appointment of part time water carrier in schools of Education department with one of the objectives being providing an opportunity for the unemployed youths of Himachal Pradesh to work in Government Schools of their villages located in or adjacent to jurisdiction of Gram Panchayats/Urban local bodies and earn a decent honorarium as well.

Petition was preferred for quashing the selection of respondent 8 on the ground that neither respondent 8 nor his family had donated any land for Government Primary School. The writ petition filed by the petitioner was allowed which is impugned in the instant appeal.

Counsel for the appellant R.S. Chandel submitted that petitioner was not entitled for five marks in view of the fact that land was donated by the brothers of grand father of the petitioner vide gift deed and the brothers of the grand father of the petitioner, will not come within the definition of word ‘family’, used in the policy.

Counsel for the respondent, submitted that though the land had been donated by the father of respondent 8, no school was constructed over that land. As per Policy the land donated must be for that particular school where a candidate applies for appointment no marks can be given to a candidate who has donated the land to a particular school and applied for appointment as part time water carrier in another school. This is in tune with the objectives and stipulations in the Policy dated 25-07-2011 for appointment of part time water carrier.

The Court relied on a Supreme Court’s decision in Baldev Sahai Bangia v. R.C. Bhasin, (1982) 2 SCC 210 and held that a beneficial provision must be meaningfully construed so as to advance the object of the Act, and curing any lacuna or defect appearing in the same. The word ‘family’ has to be given not a restricted but a wider meaning so as to include not only the head of the family but all members or descendants from the common ancestors who are actually living with the same head. The Policy in question has an objective to provide employment to the unemployed poor villagers whose families donate land for the school. It was further observed that at the time of donation of land in 1977, the family of petitioner was joint. There was no partition affected amongst sons of Shri Keshu, including grand father of petitioner, therefore, it cannot be said that grand father of the petitioner had not gifted the land.

In view of the above, the appeal was dismissed. [Sudama Nand v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 396, decided on 06-03-2020]

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