MP HC | Once the process of recruitment commences on issuance of advertisement, no changes in essential qualification or disqualification can be made during subsistence of the said recruitment

Madhya Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava and Sheel Nagu, JJ., dismissed the instant petition, whereby the petitioners sought to avail the benefits of subsequent relaxations in essential qualification.

The grievance of the petitioners was that they possess the qualification of Post Basic B.Sc (nursing) course without integrated CCH curriculum and as per the advertisement (August-September 2020) for the post of Community Health Officer; the said Post Basic B.Sc (nursing) course without integrated CCH curriculum was a disqualification. A subsequent instruction had been issued by National Health Mission on 23-11-2020 to allow even those persons having post basic B.Sc nursing course without integrated CCH curriculum to be eligible.

Counsel for the Mission, Sankalp Sharma contended that the Mission had decided to apply this amendment in the requisite qualification for the subsequent selection process and not for the current process which had already begun.

The Court expressed that, “It is trite principle of service jurisprudence that once process of recruitment commences on issuance of advertisement, no changes in the essential qualification/disqualification can be made during subsistence of the said recruitment.” The Court observed that, according to service jurisprudence the rules of game cannot be changed, once it has begun. The aforesaid time tested principle is based on sound reasoning that in case such change in the rules of recruitment is permitted then large number of persons who had not applied for being not eligible as per the recruitment and who would become eligible based on the relaxation made, would be deprived of their right to be considered for public employment which would amount to violation of their fundamental right under Article 16 of the Constitution. The Court relied on Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation v. Rajendra Bhimrao Mandve, (2001) 10 SCC 51, whereby the Supreme Court had held that, the rules of the game meaning thereby, the criteria for selection cannot be altered by the authorities concerned in the middle or after the process of selection has commenced.

Therefore, the Court disposed of the present petition holding that the subsequent relaxation in the essential qualification/disqualification notified by the Mission could not be made applicable to the on-going recruitment in question and thus petitioners cannot reap the advantage of the same. [Ramkhiladi Sharma v. National Health Mission, 2020 SCC OnLine MP 2975, decided on 05-12-2020]

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