Pat HC | Court upholds validity of Rule 7(2)(A)(iii) and 7(2)(B)(iii) of Bihar Dentist Service Rules, 2014; dismisses petition challenging the same

Patna High Court: In a petition challenging the legality of Rule 7(2)(A)(iii) and 7(2)(B)(iii) of Bihar Dentist Service Rules, 2014, Sanjay Karol, CJ., and S. Kumar, J., dismissed the petition for lack of merit upholding their validity.

The present petition has been filed by the petitioner seeking relief in the form of a declaration that the aforementioned rules are ultra vires and in contravention of the Supreme Court’s Mandate which has held that a maximum weightage of 15 % can be extended to those who have prior work experience of working on a contract basis. However, under the Dentist Service Rules, 2014 25 % weightage has been allocated for candidates with prior work experience.

The present matter arises from the recruitment on 617 posts created by the Health Department, Government of Bihar for appointment in Primary Health Centres, Sub-Divisional Referal Hospitals and Medical College Hospitals out of which 488 were for dentists, 73 for Junior Staffs surgeons (Dental), 55 for Surgeon (Dental) and 1 of Joint Director Dental Services.

The Government of Bihar framed the Bihar Dentist Service Rules, 2014 to regulate appointment and service conditions in the dentist service and notified the same on 14-10-2014. Under Rule 6 it has been mentioned that dentists may be employed on a contractual basis for a limited period in situations where dentists fit for appointments are not available. Under rule 7 the procedure for recruitment in Bihar Dentist Service is prescribed under which 5 marks per year maximum 25 marks can be awarded for experience in Government Hospitals.

Counsel for the petitioner, Kundan Kumar cited the judgment of Rajasthan High Court in Archana v. State of Rajasthan, 2013 SCC OnLine Raj 2759, but the Court doubted its applicability in facts and circumstances of the present case.

Counsel for the respondent, Paag-Lalit Kishore submitted that the contention raised by the petitioner has already been settled in an earlier judgment of this Court in Dharamvir Kumar v. State of Bihar, C.W.J.C. No. 855 of 2015. The relevant paragraph from the judgment has been reproduced below-

“Basically, it is for the recruiting agency to stipulate the procedure for selecting the candidates. It is only when the procedure is found to be patently illegal, that the Court would interfere. For selecting candidates, written test can certainly be treated as a good method, but there is nothing in law which mandates that written test is the only method to select the candidates. Awarding of marks for experience is not uncommon. The candidates who have been engaged on contractual basis served the Government Hospitals at a time when their other colleagues have been pursuing their green pastures. The State can certainly recognize the service of such candidates, subject, of course, to certain limits. The judgment of the Supreme Court relied upon by the learned counsel for the petitioners, apart from not supporting the contention, approves the procedure of awarding marks for experience in the Government Hospitals.”

The Court then relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Meeta Sahay v. State of Bihar which dealt with a similar question of law with respect to awarding weightage for experience in appointment in Medical Service. The Supreme Court approved the same and made way for appointments being made by awarding weightage to select candidates.

Hence, the Court after careful perusal of the facts, circumstances, authority cited and arguments advanced, dismissed the petition as it lacked merit.[Shailesh Chandra Gupta v. State of Bihar, 2020 SCC OnLine Pat 1274, decided on 24-08-2020]

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