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Apprenticeship Certificate can only be issued by the concerned regional board and none else: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

The method of issuance of certificates of apprenticeship is regulated as per the Apprentices Act, 1961 and in particular Section 21, which envisages grant of a certificate only after the completion of the period of training as an apprentice and after appearance in a test to be conducted by the national council or any such agency authorized by the Central Government, to determine the proficiency in the designated trade, in which the apprentice has undergone apprenticeship training. The aforesaid has been established by the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh while adjudicating the case of Ajay Kumar v. UT of J&K and others [WP(C) No. 2264/2021] which was decided upon by a two judge bench comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh and Justice Puneet Gupta on 8th November 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. The petitioner came to be selected as an Assistant Operator, which selection came to be challenged by respondent. The ground of challenge was that the petitioner herein did not satisfy the eligibility conditions prescribed by the advertisement notice. As per the advertisement notice, the eligibility condition prescribed was “Matric with certificate of apprenticeship in the Trade from a press of repute.” Instead of a certificate of apprenticeship, the petitioner had produced an experience certificate. The Tribunal allowed the petition, challenging the selection of the petitioner herein on the ground that the certificate produced by the petitioner was just an experience certificate and not an apprenticeship certificate, which is given by an authority under the Apprentices Act, 1961 and not by private individuals. The petitioner challenges the judgement and order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Jammu, whereby the selection and appointment of the petitioner to the post of Assistant Operator, Divisional Cadre Jammu has been quashed.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. It was of the opinion that “A bare perusal of the advertisement notice prescribing the eligibility conditions would make it clear that in fact what was required was not an experience certificate but an apprentice’s certificate. The method of issuance of certificates of apprenticeship is regulated as per the Apprentices Act, 1961 and in particular Section 21, which envisages grant of a certificate only after the completion of the period of training as an apprentice and after appearance in a test to be conducted by the national council or any such agency authorized by the Central Government, to determine the proficiency in the designated trade, in which the apprentice has undergone apprenticeship training. The certificate can only be issued by the concerned regional board and none else.  Having considered the matter in detail, we cannot persuade ourselves to take a view different from the one expressed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu.”

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Judgment reviewed by Aryan Bajaj

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