Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court: While deciding the question raised in the instant petition that, whether the classification made on the basis of educational qualification for promotion, offends Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution; the Bench of Sanjeev Kumar, J., went on to reiterate the core principles of the concerned constitutional provisions and held that there should be left no doubt in the mind of anybody that the classification on the basis of educational qualification for promotion is permissible in law and does not offend Arts.14 and 16 of the Constitution.

Facts of the case: The petitioners, serving in Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura, Srinagar (hereinafter ‘SKIMS') as Staff Nurses, claimed to have rendered their services for the last 27 years. The petitioners were Matriculates and possessed 3 years Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery. In 1998, SKIMS promulgated the Sher-i- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Subordinate Services Recruitment Rules 1998 (hereinafter ‘1998 Rules') as per which no person was eligible for appointment or promotion to any post in any class, category or grade in the service unless he possessed the qualification as laid down in Schedule II of the Rules.

Later in 2014 via Government Order No.75-SKIMS of 2014, sanction was accorded to the modification of recruitment rules for various categories of staff working in the Institute. Regarding the post of Senior Staff Nurse, the afore-stated Government Order stated that post is to be filled up 100% by promotion from Staff Nurses possessing B.Sc. Nursing or M.Sc. Nursing degrees.

Aggrieved by the prescription of minimum qualification of B.Sc. Nursing provided for promotion to the post of Sr. Staff Nurse, the petitioners challenged the same on the ground that the classification made by the respondents between a Staff Nurse possessing three years Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery and a Staff Nurse possessing the qualification of B.Sc. Nursing, violates Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution and therefore the same is not permissible.

Contentions: The petitioners contended that for about 27 years, they entertained a legitimate expectation that they would be promoted to the post of Sr. Staff Nurse in due course but, because of the impugned Government Order, laying down a modified criteria for the post of Sr. Staff Nurse, the petitioners have been deprived of their right to promotion for all times to come.

Per contra, the respondents relied on State of J&K v. Triloki Nath Khosa, (1974) 1 SCC 19, wherein classification on the basis of higher qualification being permissible under law, was settled by the Supreme Court.

Observations: Perusing the issue raised by the petitioners, the Court observed that the issue is no longer res-integra as the same has been settled by the Supreme Court in plethora of cases. The Court, however, deemed it appropriate to reiterate the interpretation of Arts. 14 and 16 as laid down by the Supreme Court from time to time-

  • Arts. 14 and 16 do not permit the State to treat un-equals as equals, for that is not the spirit of the principle of equality envisaged under the Constitution.

  • Art. 14 prohibits class legislation and not reasonable classification. To pass the Art. 14 test, classification needs to meet only two requirements: intelligible differentia and rational/ reasonable nexus between the intelligible differentia and object of the classification sought to be achieved.

  • The Court referred to the landmark decision in E.P. Royappa v. State of T.N., (1974) 4 SCC 3, wherein Justice P.N. Bhagwati had delineated the concept of permissible classification under Art. 14 stating that, “Art. 14 is the genus while Art. 16 is a species, Art. 16 gives effect to the doctrine of equality in all matters relating to public employment. The basic principle which, therefore, informs both Arts. 14 and 16 is equality and inhibition against discrimination”.

  • The Court considered the arguments raised by the respondents and agreed with them that the issue of classification on the basis of educational qualification in the matter of promotion, was set at rest by the Supreme Court in the afore-stated Triloki Nath Khosa case.

Decision: With the afore-stated observations, the Court dismissed the petitions and held that prescription of higher qualification like the qualification of B.Sc. Nursing/M.Sc. Nursing for promotion to the post of Senior Staff Nurse, is essential for efficient discharge of duties of a higher post. Thus, the respondents can surely prescribe higher technical qualification for the purpose of promotion.

The Court also held that a Staff Nurse possessing qualification of three years Diploma in General Nursing and Staff Nurses possessing qualification of B.Sc. Nursing, cannot be on par and therefore, are unequal because of their qualification. Which means that it would not be obligatory for respondents to treat these two unequals as equals.

[Hanifa Deva v. SKIMS, 2022 SCC OnLine J&K 528, decided on 05-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Arif Sikandar, Advocate, for the Petitioners;

M. A. Chashoo, AAG, Advocate, for the Respondents.


*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has prepared this brief

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: P Krishna Bhat, J. disposed of the application with a direction to KSNC and State to consider the applications of petitioners which were filed in the year 2019 and take a final decision on the same.

The facts of the case are such that the petitioners intending to start school of nursing for fresh course of Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM Course), had made an application in the year 2019 seeking recognition with effect from Academic Year 2019-20 to the concerned authorities. No decision was taken by the respondents regarding either for grant of approval/recognition or refusal of the same to the petitioners. Therefore, the petitioners have come up with this writ petition seeking a direction to grant approval for their school of nursing.

A decision was taken by Indian Nursing Council to phase out GNM Course immediately after the applications seeking approval filed by the petitioners. Thus, a request was made by the Indian Nursing Council to the Principal Secretaries (Health) that no new GNM School of Nursing should be approved from the Academic Year 2019-20. Later, sometime after the notification was issued, a Local Inspection Committee had visited the petitioner’s institution. However, no final decision on the applications filed by the petitioners has been taken by the respondents even as on date.

The Court relied on judgment on UOI v. KMJ College of Nursing, 2005 SCC OnLine Kar 249 and K Velayudhan Memorial Trust v. State of Kerala, 2009 SCC OnLine Ker 5323 and observed that based on communication No. HFW 212 RGU 2016 dated 14-12-2016 issued from the Office of the Principal Secretary to Government addressed to the Registrar, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, insofar as recognition and approval to the School of Nursing is concerned, there is no need for the University to obtain no objection from the Indian Nursing Council.

The Court further observed in regard to making reference to the stages of examination of applications is concerned , in stage (a), it is only the submission of application under bye-law 49(1)(a) and Schedule IV and IX of the bye-law of Karnataka State Nursing Council is required and the application has already been submitted during the year 2019. With regard to the stages (b) to (g) of consideration of applications is concerned, the concerned respondents shall accomplish each of the stages in the process of consideration of the applications within a period of not more than a week. Thus, pending applications of the petitioners is required to be considered and processed by the respondents within a total period of eight weeks and communicate the decision to the petitioners immediately thereafter.

The Court thus directed the respondents “to consider the applications of petitioners which were filed in the year 2019 as if it is filed for the Academic Year 2021-22 and take a final decision on the same in the manner indicated hereinabove within an outer limit of eight weeks from today and communicate the decision to the petitioners immediately thereafter.” [JPI Dass School of Nursing v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 756, decided on 08-04-2022]


Appearances-

For petitioners: Mr. Receben Jaacob and Piyush Kumar Jain

For respondents: Mr. BV Krishna and Ms. Sumana Baliga


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.