Sunday, May 5, 2019

Courts Cannot Decide Eligibility And Essential Qualifications For Employment: SC

The Supreme Court observed that a Court, while exercising its power of judicial review, cannot decide what is best for the employer and interpret the conditions of the advertisement contrary to the plain language of the same.
The essential qualifications for appointment to a post are for the employer to decide, said the bench comprising  of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Navin Sinha while setting aside a Bombay High Court order.
The High Court had, in the impugned order, interpreted an advertisement issued by Maharashtra Public Service Commission to hold that candidates possessing the requisite years of experience in research and development of drugs and testing of the same, are also eligible to be considered for appointment to the post of Assistant Commissioner (Drugs) and Drug Inspectors.
The court, observed that it is the employer who is best suited to decide the requirements a candidate must possess according to the needs of the employer and the nature of work. It said:
"The employer may prescribe additional or desirable qualifications, including any grant of preference. The court cannot lay down the conditions of eligibility, much less can it delve into the issue with regard to desirable qualifications being at par with the essential eligibility by an interpretive re-writing of the advertisement. Questions of equivalence will also fall outside the domain of judicial review. If the language of the advertisement and the rules are clear, the Court cannot sit in judgment over the same. If there is an ambiguity in the advertisement or it is contrary to any rules or law the matter has to go back to the appointing authority after appropriate orders, to proceed in accordance with law"
In this case, the bench observed the interpretation of the terms of the advertisement as made by the High Court both regard to the posts of Assistant Commissioner (Drugs) and Drug Inspectors cannot be upheld. The term "preference" mentioned in the advertisement cannot be interpreted to mean that merely because a candidate may have had the requisite experience of testing in a research and development laboratory he/she possessed the essential eligibility and had a preferential right to be considered for appointment, the court added.

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