Chhattisgarh High Court: A Division Bench of P.R. Ramachandra Menon and Parth Prateem Sahu JJ., rejected the appeal finding no tenable ground to interdict the impugned verdict.

The factual matrix reveals that a post of Librarian was sought to be filled up on contract basis. The Appellant, who is a Graduate in Library Science and a Post Graduate in Commerce, besides having the qualification of Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications, participated and was declared as ‘not eligible’ for the post on the ground that she has secured only less marks in the Graduation. Consequently, she filed objection asserting that no minimum percentage of marks for Graduation is stipulated in Chhattisgarh School Education Services (Educational and Administrative Cadre) Recruitment and Promotion Rules, 2019 for appointment to the post of Librarian. Further, the grievance not being redressed the Petitioner approached the Court by filing the writ petition contending that, since Rules do not stipulate any minimum marks for Graduation even for regular appointment, it cannot be insisted for appointment to the post on a contract basis. The prayer sought for is to quash/set aside the condition of minimum qualification of 50% marks in Graduation for the post of Librarian.

Counsel for the appellants submitted that there is no dispute with regard to ‘Rules’ which governs the appointment to the post in question. But the stipulation of qualification in Advertisement is stated as not in conformity with the said ‘Rules’.

Counsel for the respondents relied on judgment Maharashtra Public Service Commission v. Sandeep Shriram Warade (2019) 6 SCC 362 submitted that the merit was never sought to be compromised or diluted and it is very much within the purview of the power and prerogative of the Respondents to stipulate minimum 50% marks for Graduation, which was never against the Rules; as the Rules only prescribed the ‘minimum’ qualification. It was also contended by reliying on judgment Madras Institute of Development Studies v.. K. Sivasubramaniyan (2016) 1 SCC 454 that the writ petitioner having participated in the process of selection cannot take a ‘u-turn’ and challenge the process after coming to know that she has not been selected.

Rule 6 of ‘Rules’ dealing with ‘method of recruitment’ reads as follow:

“6. Method of recruitment. – (1) Recruitment to the service, after the commencement of these rules, shall be made by the following methods, namely:-

(a) By direct recruitment through selection (competitive examination/interview) and Limited Departmental Examination;

(b) By promotion of members of the service;

(c) By transfer/deputation of persons who hold in a substantive capacity such posts in such services as may be specified in this behalf;

(d) By absorption of person / persons who hold in such services an serve on any equivalent salary/post in any Government service.”

 The Court observed that “the appointment could be made by Direct Recruitment through selection (Competitive examination / Interview) and when such selection is made to the limited number of post notified, it may not be necessary or possible to call all persons who are having the minimum qualifications stipulated in the Rules, that too, for appointment on ‘contract basis’. Even in the case of a selection process having both the written test and interview, it is settled law that all the persons who get qualified in the written test need not be called for the interview and that the number can be limited to appropriate extent, based on the number of vacancies available.”

The Court further observed that the Appellant can not be heard to say that she is actually aggrieved because of considering persons having better merits (who have secured more than 50% of marks for Graduation) for the post, as appointment has to be made by identifying the most meritorious candidate. It was further observed that the Appellant was aware of the contents of the  Notification right from the beginning and it was in her open eyes that she participated in the selection process and protested her selection only after the merit list was released.

In view of the above, interference was rejected and appeal was dismissed.[Sajida Khan v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 668, decided on 19-11-2020]

Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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