On Minimum Qualification In Class-IV Jobs, High Court Upholds Employers Rights

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has recently observed that any higher qualification than the one prescribed for a particular post may not be a suitable qualification and that the employer, in its wisdom, is justified in excluding candidates with a higher qualification from the ambit of selection, reported LiveLaw.in.

According to the report, the Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey observed that the laying down of the criteria of the minimum and the maximum qualification for the Class-IV post as matric and 10+2, respectively, is neither irrational, unreasonable nor arbitrary

Essentially, the Court was dealing with a letter patent appeal filed by the appellant calling into question the Single Judge order wherein he had held that the candidates with higher qualification are not eligible to apply when the advertisement notice prescribes minimum and maximum qualification, said the report

With this, the Writ Court had declared that the appellant was overqualified for the post of an Attendant (Class- IV) [in Jammu and Kashmir Public Service] and, therefore, could not apply for the post in question, it reads.

Challenging the same, he moved before the Division Bench.

The report said that at the outset, the Court noted that the appointment to Class-IV posts in Jammu and Kashmir Public Service has to be in accordance with the Jammu and Kashmir Appointment to Class-IV (Special Recruitment) Rules, 2020.

The Court also noted that a government notification which is issued for the purposes of recruitment of Class-IV posts, the minimum and maximum qualification shall be matric and 10+2, respectively, even the advertisement notification in question also specifically provides for the same qualification, reported LiveLaw.in.

Importantly, regarding the employer’s discretion to lay down the qualification to a particular post, the Court noted that the suitability and the qualifications for any post have to be laid down by the employer and the same are not liable to be interfered with judicially, until and unless the policy decision in that regard is found to be irrational or arbitrary.

Against this backdrop, referring to the case of appointments to Class-IV posts, the Court observed thus:

“…higher qualification than the prescribed 10+2 may not be suitable for many reasons; the first being that a highly qualified person may not be in a position to discharge the menial work which is required to be done by a Class-IV employee; secondly, if such highly qualified candidates are allowed to compete with candidates with lower qualification, as prescribed, it is but obvious that they will score above them and would get selected to the detriment of the candidates possessing the requisite eligibility; and thirdly, such candidates of higher qualification, if selected, would always be looking for a better job and, as soon as they are selected in some other better discipline, they would leave the Class-IV post rendering the entire selection as useless, besides forcing the employer to get those posts re-advertised and re-filled,@ the report quoted the order issued by court.

The Court also referred to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Chief Manager, Punjab National Bank & Another v. Anit Kumar Das, Civil Appeal No.3602 of 2020, wherein, it was observed that the qualification of 12th pass for the post of Peons in the Bank is justified as it is a conscious decision taken by the Bank and no candidate with superior qualification can be recognized as eligible for the post.

Lastly, dismissing the appeal, the Court added thus:

“What we mean to express is that higher qualification may not be a suitable qualification for every post and, if candidates with higher qualifications are excluded, the view of the learned Single Judge in this regard cannot be faulted with and said to be illegal or perverse,” reported LiveLaw.in.

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