(HIGH COURT OF ASSAM, NAGALAND, MEGHALAYA, MANIPUR, TRIPURA, MIZORAM AND ARUNACHAL PRADESH
WP(C) No. 465 of 2010
MRS. NILAKSHI MILI (MEDAK),
.C/O SHRI DIPAK MEDAK,
.R/O ARENGAPARA VETERINARY ROAD,
.POST OFFICE GOLAGHAT,
.DISTRICT. GOLAGHAT, ASSAM.
1. THE STATE OF ASSAM
REPRESENTED BY THE COMMISSIONER &
SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF ASSAM,
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, DISPUR, GUWAHATI-781006.
2. THE DIRECTOR OF HIGHER EDUCATION,
ASSAM, KAHILIPARA, GUWAHATI-19.
3. THE DEPUTY SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF ASSAM, EDUCATION (HIGHER) DEPARTMENT, DISPUR,
4. THE GOVERNING BODY,
DERGAON KAMAL DOWERAH COLLEGE, DERGAON, GOLAGHAT, REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT
SHRI PRAFULLA BORA.
5. THE PRESIDENT,
DERGAON KAMAL DOWERAH COLLEGE,
6. THE PRINCIPAL AND SECRETARY (GB),
DERGAON KAMAL DOWERAH COLLEGE,
7. SHRI RANJAN BORTHAKUR,
S/O LILADHAR BORTHAKUR,
LECTURER OF SANSKRIT,
DERGAON KAMAL DOWERAH COLLEGE,
!Mr. TH Hazarika
Mr. K Kalita,
Mr. K Medhi,
Mr. K Anam,
^Mr. MK Mishra, Standing Counsel, Education Department. Mr. SK Talukdar,
HON'BLE MR JUSTICE IA ANSARI
Date of hearing & Judgment:10/02/2011.
O R A L
I have heard Mr. TH Hazarika, learned counsel for the petitioner, and Mr. MK Mishra, learned Standing counsel, Education Department, for respondent Nos. 1 to 3. I have also heard Mr. SK Talukdar, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent No. 7. None has appeared on behalf of the respondent Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
2..Pursuant to an advertisement, published, on 01-06-2005, by respondent No. 5, namely, President, Dergaon Kamal Dowerah College, Dergaon, Golaghat, inviting applications for filling up a post, amongst others, of Lecturer in the subject of Sanskrit, the petitioner, respondent No. 7 herein and 11 others applied for selection and appointment. The advertisement had made it clear that a candidate must have passed National Level Eligibility Test (NET) or State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) and must also have UGC norms with good academic career. In the interview held on 10-11-2009, only two candidates, namely, the petitioner and respondent No. 7 appeared. None of them had passed NET or SLET and were, therefore, not eligible to participate in the selection process. The Selection Committee, which had interviewed the candidates, on 10-11- 2009, recorded, in its proceedings, that after having interviewed the two candidates, they found one of the candidate's performance satisfactory, but none of the two candidates fulfilled the norms of NET or SLET and one, whose performance was satisfactory, had M. Phil degree and as far as the performance of the other candidate was concerned, it was not found satisfactory. The Selection Committee accordingly recommended that the post be re-advertised. The proceedings of the Selection Committed were placed, on 21-11-2009, before the Government Body of the College concerned. The Government Body resolved to request the Director of Higher Education, Assam, to consider if respondent No. 7, who has been working as a Lecturer in the Department of Sanskrit of the said College, on ad hoc basis and possesses M. Phil degree, can be appointed to the said post of lecturer in Sanskrit. The resolution was accordingly forwarded to respondent No. 2, namely, Director of Higher Education, Assam, Kahilipara.
3..Aggrieved by the decision of the Government Body of the college and apprehending that respondent No. 2, namely, Director of Higher Education, Assam, Kahilipara, might accord approval to the Governing Body's recommendation made, in favour of respondent No. 7, for appointment as Lecturer of Sanskrit in the said college, the petitioner has filed this writ petition, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, seeking not only issuance of appropriate writ(s) setting aside and quashing the proceedings of the Selection Committee and also of the Government Body, held on 10-11-2009 and 21-11-2009 respectively, but also commanding the State respondents to appoint the petitioner, as a Lecturer in Sanskrit, on the ground that she has, in the meanwhile, acquired necessary qualification, on 22-05-2009, by successfully completing the course of NET. The writ petition has been resisted by the respondents.
4..The material facts, as emerge from the pleadings of the parties and the submissions made on their behalf, are that, on 01-06-2005, when the advertisement was published, neither the petitioner nor respondent No. 7 had satisfied the eligibility criteria mentioned in the advertisement inasmuch as none of them had cleared the NET or SLET. However, before the date of the interview, which was held, on 10-11-2009, the petitioner had successfully completed the course of NET inasmuch as he qualified NET on 22-05-2009, whereas the interview was held on 10-11-2009.
5..The petitioner, therefore, contends that though he was not eligible to apply for appointment to the post, he, having acquired necessary qualification before the date of the interview, ought to have been selected.
6..While considering the petitioner's contention, it needs to be noted that merely because a candidate satisfies the eligibility criteria on the date of the interview, it is not imperative to select and appoint him to the post for which he is a candidate if he was not qualified on the date, when the advertisement was published. In the case at hand, therefore, merely on the ground that the petitioner was eligible to appear in the interview held on 10-11-2009, he having acquired the necessary qualification on 22-05-2009, the petitioner cannot demand, as of his right, that he ought to have been selected and appointed to the post, in question, when he, on the date of the advertisement, i.e., on 01- 06-2005, had not acquired necessary qualification. This apart, for the reason alone that a candidate is eligible to participate in a selection process, such as an interview, it does not give him any indefeasible right to claim appointment unless he is found suitable for the post to which he seeks to be selected.
7..Coupled with the above, the larger and more important question is this: Whether a candidate, who had not satisfied the required eligibility criteria on the date of advertisement for a job, can demand his appointment on the basis of an interview, which was held subsequent to the advertisement, merely because he happens to have acquired the necessary qualification before the date of the interview? The answer to this question has to be an emphatic 'No'. It is trite that a person cannot be treated as eligible unless he satisfies the eligibility criteria in terms of the advertisement responding whereto, he makes the application for selection and appointment. The reference made, in this regard, by Mr. Talukdar, learned counsel for the respondent No. 7, to the case of Ashok Kumar Sharma and others -vs- Chander Shekhar and another, reported in (1997) 4 SCC 18, is not misplaced inasmuch as the Supreme Court has, in no uncertain words, held therein as under: ."The proposition that where applications are called for prescribing a particular date as the last date for filing the applications, the eligibility of the candidates shall have to be judged with reference to that date and that date alone, is a well- established one. A person who acquires the prescribed qualification subsequent to such prescribed date cannot be considered at all. An advertisement or notification issued/published calling for applications constitutes a representation to the public and the authority issuing it is bound by such representation. It cannot act contrary to it. One reason behind this proposition is that if it were known that persons who obtained the qualifications after the prescribe date but before the date of interview would be allowed to appear for the interview, other similarly placed persons could also have applied. Just b;ecause some of the persons had applied notwithstanding that they had not acquired the prescribed qualifications by the prescribed date, they could not have been treated on a preferential basis. Their applications ought to have been rejected at the inception itself. This proposition is indisputable and in fact was not doubted or disputed in the majority judgment. This is also the proposition affirmed in Rekha Chaturvedi v. University of Rajasthan, reported in 1993 Supp (3) SCC
8..In the light of the position of law as indicated above, there can be no escape from the conclusion that since the petitioner was not eligible to apply for appointment to the post, in question, when the advertisement, dated 01- 06-2005, was published, the mere fact that he subsequently acquired the educational qualification or subsequently satisfied the eligibility criteria could not have qualified him to be called for interview held on 10-11-2009. The petitioner ought not to have even been called for interview, which was held on 10-11-2009. The position of respondent No. 7 is no better inasmuch as he too, being not qualified to be called for interview pursuant to the advertisement, dated 01-06-2005, ought not to have been called for, and ought not to have been allowed to appear in, the interview. The fact that respondent No. 7 had fared better than the petitioner and/or the fact that respondent No. 7 had been working in the respondent college, on ad hoc basis, as a Lecturer in Sanskrit, could not have been the grounds for inviting respondent No. 7 to appear in the interview. The very basis of the interview, which was held on 10- 11-2009, was, thus, wholly incorrect and illegal. In short, the respondents/authorities concerned ought not to have called the petitioner and respondent No. 7 to the interview nor they should have had interviewed any of the said two candidates. The act of interviewing these two candidates and the recommendations made in favour of the respondent No. 7, for appointment to the said post, are wholly against the law and cannot, therefore, be sustained.
9..In the result and for the reasons discussed above, this writ petition partly succeeds. While the proceedings of the Governing Body held on 21-11- 2009 are hereby, to the extent that the same recommends the case of the respondent No. 7 for appointment to the said post of Lecturer of Sanskrit, set aside and quashed. Since the post of Lecturer of Sanskrit in Dergaon Kamal Dowerah College, Dergaon, is presently lying vacant, continuous holding of the post by the respondent No. 7, on ad hoc basis, is against public policy and would not, therefore, be proper. The respondent/college authorities are, therefore, directed to re-advertise the post, in question, within a period of one month from the ate of receipt of a copy of this order by respondent No. 6, namely, Principal and Secretary (GB), Dergaon Kamal Dowerah College, Dergaon, Golaghat, clearly specifying therein the eligibility criteria for making applications for appointment to the said post.
10..With the above observations and directions, this writ petition shall stand disposed of.
11..The interim direction, passed in this case, shall accordingly stand modified.
12..No order as to costs.JUDGE