Jharkhand High Court: Rajesh Shankar, J., while dismissing the writ petition, preferred by the petitioners, for quashing and setting aside the letter dated 10-05-2018, held that the past record of the competent person is a relevant consideration for renewal of competency certificate and hence the claim of the petitioners has no leg to stand.
Through the said letter a show cause notice was issued to the Petitioner 1 (‘Firm') calling upon as to why its application for renewal of competency certificate issued to Petitioner 2 should not be rejected since the same was revoked by the then Chief Inspector of Factories, Jharkhand. The Firm prayed for the issuance of direction upon the respondent to issue a competency certificate to Petitioner 2.
The firm engages competent persons for the purpose of carrying out tests, examination, inspection and certification under the Factories Act, 1948. Earlier, a certificate of competency was issued to the firm with respect to a civil engineer employed by it that expired on 18-01-2018. On expiration, the firm applied before the respondent, Chief Inspector of Factories, for renewal of the same and for grant of fresh competency certificate to Petitioner 2 in reply to which a show cause notice was issued. As a result, the petitioner was required to respond to the show cause notice in order to explain why the application for the renewal of the competency certificate should not be rejected.
The firm responded to the afore-mentioned show cause notice with a letter dated 25-05-2018 in which it claimed that neither the alleged violation nor a barrier to the renewal of the civil engineer’s certificate of competency had occurred. Additionally, it was claimed in the afore-mentioned reply that competency certificate of petitioner 2had been revoked with ulterior motive and he was a qualified and experienced individual who met all eligibility requirements for declaring him to be a competent person under Rule 2-A of the Rules, 1950. However, in a letter dated 31-05-2018, the respondent only acknowledged the civil engineer as a competent person and rejected petitioner 2.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that under the Right to Information Act, 2005, it has been informed to the firm that a similarly situated person was given the competency certificate and thus, the respondents have discriminated the petitioner 2 as against similarly situated persons. He further pointed out that in the Factories Act, 1948 as well as in the Rules, 1950 there are no such provisions given whereby the respondent has the authority to revoke such certificate for an indefinite period. Even if such is revoked in the past, the said revocation can only be applicable till the validity of the certificate lasts and not beyond that.
The counsel for the respondent contended that there is no provision for reconsideration of competency certificates which were earlier revoked.
Whether once revoked competency certificate can be reconsidered under provisions of law?
Observation and Analysis:
The Court observed that under Rule 2-A of the Rules, 1950, the Chief Inspector may recognize any person or establishment as a competent person located in a factory if such person possesses the qualifications, experiences and the Chief Inspector of Factories may also revoke such certificate of competency after giving an opportunity of hearing to such competent person.
The Court also observed that before granting extension/renewal of the competency certificate, the record of the performance of the competent person as well as the adherence to the terms and conditions of the certificate should be put under assessment by the authority and having found satisfactory, the competency certificate may be renewed/extended for a period up to two years.
The Court observed that the past record of a competent person is a relevant consideration for renewal of a competency certificate.
Hence the Court held that the claim of the petitioners to be granted competency certificate has no leg to stand specially when the order of revocation passed vide letter no. 291 dated 24-04-2014 still stands.
The Court also directed the respondent to process application of renewal of issuance of competency by giving the name of any other eligible person.
[General Engineering and Marketing Organization v. State of Jharkhand, W.P. (C) No. 4793 of 2018, decided on 08-03-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Sarvesh Kumar Verma, Advocate, for the Petitioner;
Mr. Sreenu Garapati, SC- III, Advocate, for the Respondents.