Candidates who possess the qualification as on the last date alone are eligible to apply and be considered for recruitment: Himachal Pradesh High Court

When deciding the if the qualification acquired after the last date for a university professor post would make the candidate eligible, the Court held that, it wouldn’t make the candidate eligible. This judgment was passed in the case of Dharam Pal Singh vs. Himachal Pradesh University [CWP No. 772/2021] by a Double Bench consisting of Hon’ble Shri Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Hon’ble Shri Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia

The question before the court was whether a qualification which is acquired after a prescribed date can be taken into consideration to judge the eligibility or acquisition of higher qualification. The respondent university issued an advertisement dated 30.12.2019 and the last date for determining the eligibility was 30.01.2020. The petitioner was an applicant for the post of assistant professor in computer science  for which the minimum qualification is as per the UGC Regulations, 2018. As per the decision of the executive council in the year 1981 the advertisements are operational for a year. In the present Case it was extended by 6 months (30th June 2021). Both the parties agreed to the fact that the petitioner did not have a Ph.D. and the same was obtained only in the December, 2020. But, the petitioner had made a representation to the university to consider the qualification which was obtained after the closing date and the same was rejected. 

The respondent replied by stating that due to the pandemic they weren’t able to start the recruitment till august 2020 and thus it couldn’t be completed. When the matter was placed before the executive council the extension till June was given and the qualification of the petitioner was acquired after the last date of online application. After hearing both the parties the High Court laid down that, a particular date is present in the application so that applicants are judged based on that date alone. 

Relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Ashok Kumar Sharma and others vs. Chander Shekar and another [1997 4 SCC 18], and the judgments after that by the Supreme Court and High Court of Himachal Pradesh, the court held that the suitability and eligibility of the candidate is to be considered only with reference to the last date. The reason for the same is that all candidate need to be of the same level that is with the qualifications on that particular date and no preferential treatment takes place. 

The hon’ble High Court also clarified that when such a date is not given, the last date would be last date for making the qualification. And a candidate who acquires the qualification after the said date cannot be considered at all. Further any person who does not possess the required qualification on that particular date cannot apply since, that would be contrary to the statutory rules and therefore void. 

The Hon’ble High court concluded by holding, “Noticably there is no allegation of any bais or malafides against any officer of the respondent and, therefore, in absence of such allegation, the Court will not interfere with the action of the respondent, which as observed above, is in consonance with law.” 

Click here for the Judgment.

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