bombay high court

Bombay High Court: In a petition under Article 226 of Constitution of India challenging order passed by the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal on 18-04-2022 dismissing application holding that the ‘Sports Verification Certificate’ was not filed with the application, due to which the petitioner could not be considered for the post of Police Sub-Inspector, the Division Bench of A.S. Chandurkar and Jitendra Jain*, JJ. rejected the Tribunal’s view and upheld the compliance with the application process for the post of Police Sub-Inspector, since the Sports Certificate was already submitted and verified.

Factual Background

The petitioner was already serving as a Police Constable, selected from Open Sports Category based on Sports Certificate and verification report dated 30-08-2010 for past few years. She applied for the post of Police Sub-Inspector for advertisement dated 26-04-2017 issued by the respondents. The petitioner appeared for the main exam and cleared it on 3-10-2017. The Interview and Physical Training test was conducted on 8-10-2018 wherein, the petitioner also produced ‘Sports Verification Certificate’ to prove her eligibility for being considered under the Sports category.

The names of recommended candidates were pronounced but the petitioner’s name was not there, due to which, the petitioner requested the respondents to inform her about the status of her application for the post of Police Sub-Inspector vide various emails, while conveying through letter dated 27-03-2019 that all her documents were submitted and verified. On 1-04-2019, she was informed that she was not considered for the said post for non-submission of ‘Sports Verification Certificate’ along with the application, even though she had scored aggregate of 183 marks. The petitioner approached the Tribunal challenging the said action, which was dismissed, and the same was challenged in the instant matter.

Court’s Analysis

The Court took note of the fact that the petitioner was already employed as a Police Constable under the ‘Sports Category’ much before the date of advertisement, which was on respondents’ record since her selection was based on the said ‘Sports Category Certificate’. She was in possession of the said certificate while applying for the post of Police Sub-Inspector, which was also verified and confirmed by the respondents on 3-10-2018.

The Court perused the relevant clauses of the advertisement which required a candidate to obtain a certificate prior to the date of application. In the instant matter, the said certificate was issued on 27-02-2010, not only was issued before the date of application for the post of Police Sub-Inspector but was already on record. The Court rejected the view that the clauses requiring the petitioner to obtain/hold the certificate on the date of application were not complied with. It further highlighted that the petitioner had submitted all the documents including ‘Sports Verification Certificate’ on 3-10-2018, which was not denied.

The Court added that “In our view, on a harmonious reading of Clauses 4.6, 4.8 and 8.8 of the advertisement, if a candidate already held a sports certificate which is dated much prior to the date of making the application and on the basis of such a certificate, a candidate was already selected and serving as a Police Constable much prior to the date of making the application and at the time of interview, verification of such certificate is submitted with respondents and no fault or discrepancy is found thereon, then it cannot be said that the petitioner did not hold the certificate on the date of making the application.”

The Court found the petitioner in compliance with the condition of ‘obtaining the certificate’ and found the Tribunal and respondents unjustified in not considering her for the post of Police Sub-Inspector. The Court found the petitioner’s reliance on Dheerender Singh Paliwal v. UPSC, (2017) 11 SCC 276 justified and squarely applicable for both the petitioner and respondents being in possession of the said sports certificate and the petitioner was found to be meritorious otherwise. The Court found no reason why the petitioner should not have been considered for selection to the post of Police Sub-Inspector.

Therefore, the Court quashed and set aside the order passed by the Tribunal on 18-04-2022. It further directed for treating the petitioner treated as eligible for appointment as a Police Sub-Inspector, but clarified that applying the principle of not having actually performed the duties of the Police Sub-Inspector, it held that such appointment shall be made on notional basis without any monetary benefits for the period up to the date of her actual appointment pursuant to the instant order.

[Shaila Tanaji Patil v. Maharashtra Public Service Commission, 2024 SCC OnLine Bom 537, decided on 14-02-2024]

Judgment by: Justice Jitendra Jain

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate Arjun S. Pawar

For Respondent: Additional Government Pleader N.C. Walimbe, AGP A.R. Metkari

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