Read Order: Harjinder Singh and Another v. Administrator, Municipal Council, Faridkot and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, May 13, 2022:The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that the suitability of a candidate for a particular post has to be assessed at the time of interview.  

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal said, “It is not necessary that a candidate, who possesses a higher qualification than the minimum qualification would be awarded more marks in the interview”

The petitioners challenged the selection and appointment of the private respondents for the posts of Fireman against an advertisement issued by the respondents.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that although the petitioners were more qualified than the private respondents, they were not appointed to the post of Fireman. The first petitioner obtained the qualification of BA, B.Ed., while the second petitioner possessed the matriculation certificate along with two years Diploma in Art and Craft and also held an NCC certificate of Directorate. 

It was further the petitioner’s Counsel that the first petitioner was given only 7 out of 30 marks in the interview while the second petitioner was not called for the interview, and on the other hand, the private respondents, who had lesser qualifications than the petitioners were awarded more marks in the interview which led to their selection. The Counsel further contended that the entire process of the physical test was not properly videographed. 

Lastly, the counsel concluded by contending that the twelfth respondent did not even meet the physical standards set out in the criteria prescribed in the advertisement yet he was selected because of his relationship with the Fire Station Officer. 

The counsel for respondents (first to fourth) however, submitted that the appointment to the post of Fireman was on a contract basis and that the first petitioner obtained lesser marks in the interview than the selected candidates and the second petitioner could not clear the physical test, thus, was not called for interview. It was further contended that the first petitioner was interviewed along with other candidates but he was awarded lesser marks on the basis of his performance in the interview and he also submitted that the allegations against the selection of the twelfth respondent were vague. 

After considering the rival submissions, the Court opined that the appointment was for the post of Fireman for which the essential qualification was matriculation and the candidates had to meet stringent physical conditions. Further, Justice Grewal added that the allegations that the second respondent was selected on account of his father being a Fire Station Officer were not substantiated by any cogent material as the father of the said respondent did not participate in the selection process at any stage, therefore, the Court was of the opinion that these bald allegations cannot be accepted in this writ petition which was preferred after completion of one year of the selection process. 

The petitioners may be more qualified having a degree of B.A., B.Ed. but the selection is for the post of Fireman wherein the essential qualification is matriculation, the Court held while adding that it is not necessary that a candidate, who possesses a higher qualification than the minimum qualification would be awarded more marks in the interview. Further, the Bench asserted that the suitability of a candidate for a particular post has to be assessed at the time of the interview. 

From the perusal of the material on record, the Court did not find any infirmity in the selection process. Consequently, the petition was dismissed.

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