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Courts are slow to interfere with any stated stipulation with regard to age made by the state policy: High Court of Meghalaya

Prescription of age limit and relaxation is made in furtherance of the policy of the State, and the same constitutes a policy decision made, which is to be consistent with the requirements of the post, Courts are slow to interfere with any stated stipulation with regard to age as held by the High Court of Meghalaya by the learned bench lead by Justice H. S. Thangkhiew in the case of Smti Hanna Ch. Marak Vs. State of Meghalaya (WP(C) No. 361 of 2016)

The brief facts of the case are that the instant writ application was filed by the writ petitioner seeking relaxation and condonation of her age for appearing in any future selection process to the post of Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), and in addition has also prayed for regularization and also that she not be ousted from service during the pendency of the writ petition.

Ms. D. Mawthoh, learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner was initially appointed on 16.03.2010 as an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) on a contract basis for a period of 11 months and continued in the said post after extensions were given from time to time till date. On 19.07.2016, an advertisement had been issued for recruitment to a large number of Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) posts, with the qualifications prescribed therein of S.S.L.C. passed, with 18 months Training Course of Nursing and an age limit 18 to 27 years relaxable by 5 years for Scheduled caste and Tribe candidates. Learned counsel further submits that at that point of time, the petitioner had applied for the said post but her application was not accepted, on the ground that she was over-aged and that though a representation was made before the State respondents, the same was rejected. Being faced with this situation, learned counsel submits, the writ petitioner is before this Court by way of the instant writ petition seeking relaxation of age for any fresh selection.

Mr. K.P. Bhattacharjee, learned GA for the State respondents submitted that by the Notification dated 02.05.2018, an amendment was made to the Meghalaya Nursing Service Rules, especially Rule 9 which provides that, in the case of candidates belonging to Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes, the upper age limit shall now be relaxable by 10 years. As per the records of the earlier selection process, it appears that the writ petitioner has not appeared in any selection process till date but is continuing to serve as an ANM. He submitted that the present writ petitioner therefore would not be qualified to apply for any future selection in view of the prescribed age limit.

After hearing the learned counsel for the respective parties at length, the Hon’ble Court held, “The concerned respondents are directed in the event an application is made by the petitioner for the fresh selection process as per the advertisement, the same shall be accepted and she be allowed to take part in the selection process. It is however, made clear and understood that this being an exceptional case, it shall not serve as a precedent in the case of any other candidate seeking age relaxation. With the foregoing directions, this writ petition is allowed to the extent as indicated above and is accordingly disposed of.

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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