Allahabad High Court| Over-aged candidates can neither claim participation in selection process nor seek conduct of recruitment every year as a matter of right

Allahabad High Court

   

Allahabad High Court: Saurabh Shyam Shamshery, J. dismissed the writ petition which was filed praying to issue a mandamus commanding and directing to respondent 3 to exempt the age relaxation to the petitioners for Assistant Prosecution Officer and accept the application form of the petitioners for Assistant Prosecution Exam.-2022.

All the petitioners were candidates of recruitment process for the post of Assistant Prosecution Officer Exam – 2022 and their counsel contended that no recruitment process for Prosecuting Officers could be conducted after 2018 and after four years now in 2022, present recruitment process is commenced. During 4 years, many candidates have become over aged and by fixing cut off date for maximum age of 40 years to be 1-7-2022, respondents have declined petitioner’s legitimate right to participate in the examination and cut off date for maximum age ought to be 1-7-2021. It was further submitted that date of Advertisement was 21-5-2022, therefore, year of recruitment ought to be 1-7-2021 to 1-7-2022 and accordingly cut off date for maximum age ought to be 1-7-2021 and not 1-7-2022.

Counsel for respondent 2 submitted that advertisement was issued on the direction of State, therefore, respondent 2 has no submission on merit, however, Advertisement was issued on 21-4-2022, therefore, recruitment year would be 2022-23 and reckoning of date would be 01-07-2022, as such, cut off date is rightly fixed.

The Court noted that Covid-19 pandemic has startled and affected not only day to day life of a human being but has affected State’s normal working and an example of it is the recruitment process in question which is scheduled after four years. Resultantly, petitioners became over aged.

The Court however after hearing the parties and the evidence on record found that in the recruitment process, candidate between 21 years to 40 years are eligible to participate and there is no limit of attempts, therefore, petitioners were eligible to participate in recruitment held prior to recruitment held in 2018, therefore, the argument that they have been denied the right of legal expectation has no force. The court considered the fact that it was beyond control of the State, therefore, State cannot be faulted for not conducting recruitment examination during Covid-19 pandemic.

It was noted that Assistant Prosecution Officer examination 2018 was advertised by Advertisement dated 28-12-2018 and cut off date for maximum age was forced to 01-07-2018 whereas for Assistant Prosecution Office examination, 2022 (Advertisement dated 21-4-2022), cut off date for maximum age is fixed i.e. 1-7-2022. The relevant cut off date is fixed according to year of advertisement. The Court distinguished on facts the case of High Court of Delhi v. Devina Sharma, (2022) 4 SCC 643 relied on by the petitioners where the age was relaxed on basis of submission of the recruitment body as in the present case State has fixed the cut off date and being a policy matter not be disturbed or interfered not being to be 1-7-2022, which has followed earlier pattern arbitrarily.

The Court observed that it is settled proposition that due to inaction on the part of the State Government in not filing the posts year-wise, the candidates cannot get a right to participate in the selection process being over aged and that nobody can claim as a matter of right that recruitment on any post should be made every year. State has taken a decision which cannot be interfered except it is arbitrary which the petitioners have failed to make out a substantial case. In the present case, Commission has advertised on 21-4-2022, therefore, calendar year would be 01-01-2022 to 31-07-2000 and accordingly date would be first day of July of Calendar year i.e. 1-7-2022. Commission and State have followed the provisions correctly. Fixing of date cannot be said to be arbitrary.

The Court finally reproduced relevant paragraphs of the judgment in Vijay Kumar Singh v. State of U.P., 2022 (7) ADJ 677 (LB) and in placing reliance dismissed the writ petition finding no illegality and irregularity in fixing of reckoning date in terms of date of advertisement.

[Ajay Kumar Yadav v. State of U.P., Writ – A No. – 7783 of 2022, decided on 11-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Somendra Singh, Advocate, Counsel for the Petitioner;

C.S.C., Avneesh Tripathi, M.N. Singh, Advocates, Counsel for the Respondent.


*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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