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Unless Manifest Arbitrariness affects, Prescription Of Qualification For Recruitment Outside Domain Of Judicial Review: In Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court dismissed a petition challenging a government notification that amended the Karnataka Education Department Services (Department of Public Instructions) (Recruitment) Rules, 1967, and excluded subjects at the graduate level, namely Psychology and Journalism, as the minimum qualification for recruitment to the post of graduate primary teacher.

In the case of Sampada and others vs. State of Karnataka (Writ Petition 8202 of 2022), a division bench of Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty stated, “It is established in law that an employer must decide on the qualifications required for appointment to a position. The courts have no authority to impose conditions or determine eligibility. Unless there is manifest arbitrariness, the issue of qualification prescription is beyond the scope of judicial review.”

Sampada and others have degrees in Psychology, Journalism, and Education, as well as a Bachelor of Education. The petitioners have also passed the teacher eligibility exam and work as teachers in private schools.

The petitioners had approached the court seeking to overturn the amendment to the schedule of the Karnataka Education Department Services (Department of Public Instructions) (Recruitment) Rules, 1967, as well as the schedule imposing minimum qualification for the post of graduate primary teacher, excluding the subjects Psychology and Journalism by virtue of Notification dated 22.02.2022. They had also requested that the respondent include the subject combination English, Psychology, and Journalism as eligibility criteria.

The bench noted that the qualification required for the amendment is not in conflict with, but rather in addition to, the minimum qualification required by the National Council for Teacher Education. It went on to say, “The prescription of qualification is a matter for experts to decide. The provision could not be demonstrated to be manifestly arbitrarily. The educational qualification prescribed by the Karnataka government is in addition to the minimum qualification prescribed by the National Council for Teacher Education.”

It continued, “The qualification prescribed by amendment cannot be said to violate the qualification prescribed by the National Council for Teacher Education. As a result, the qualification requirements for the position of Graduate Primary Teacher cannot be changed.”

The court then decided, “This Court cannot issue a mandamus writ directing the prescription of a specific qualification. We do not believe the writ petition has merit for the reasons stated above. This fails and is thus dismissed.”

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