Read Order: Sunita Kumari Rohilla And Others v. State of Haryana and another 

LE Staff

Chandigarh, July 8, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that an ineligible candidate cannot seek the benefit of appointment or relaxation of the age to the said post without possessing the requisite criteria.

The Bench of Justice G.S. Sandhawalia made these remarks on Wednesday  while dismissing a bunch of petitions of different government employees who were challenging their repatriation from higher post to original post of appointment due to lack of the requisite qualification.

Dismissing the pleas, the High Court however said the state government shall not seek to recover the emoluments received by the petitioners for the work done on the higher posts.

The first petition was of a nursing officer employed with Rohtak’s Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science (PGIMS) who was recently reverted from the post of Assistant Nursing Superintendent to her original post namely Staff Nurse by the Haryana government.

It had been held that the petitioner did not have the requisite experience of seven years as Nursing Sister for the post of Assistant Nursing Superintendent, and was also over-age at the time of appointment in 2011.

In another case, the petitioner was appointed to the post of Deputy Nursing Superintendent in 2012 which has been annulled by an order dated June 9, 2021 by the state government  on the ground that the petitioner did not have the requisite qualifications of M.Sc with 3 years’ experience as ANS/Nursing Sister and was also over-age for the post.

The primary argument of the counsel representing the petitioners was that they have been working since 2011 and the reversion order has been passed at this belated stage. It was submitted that action was delayed and on an earlier occasion, show cause notice had been dropped and therefore, it would not be justified on behalf of the state authorities to pass the order of reversion. The counsel further submitted that there was a clause for relaxation and therefore, it was implied that the appointment was made after relaxing the age limit.

Dismissing their petition, Justice Sandhawalia held that the petitioners secured appointment to higher posts in an illegal manner. They were ineligible in both sets of cases and also over-age, the high court said, adding that both petitioners were working as Staff Nurse which is a position below the Nursing Sister and thus, they did not have the requisite experience.

The Bench stated that the petitioners continued to work illegally until the complaints were received in 2016 at the CM Window office and the enquiry report also came against them on February 3, 2017 but the proceedings were kept pending. Only on account of the fact that an illegal order had been passed on August14, 2018 by the Director, Medical Education & Research, at that point of time, dropping the proceedings, would not give the petitioners any cause to say that the proceedings had come to an end.

The High Court observed that it is a settled principle that an ineligible candidate cannot seek the benefit of appointment or relaxation of the age to the said post without possessing the requisite criteria.

The Court put the reliance on Supreme Court in Dr. Prit Singh Vs. S.K.Mangal  where it was held that a person, who was not eligible for appointment in terms of the prescribed qualifications on the date he was appointed by the Managing Committee, cannot later become eligible after the qualifications to the posts were amended.

Reliance can also be placed upon the judgment of the Apex Court in Pramod Kumar Vs. U.P.Secondary Education Services Commission & others wherein it was held that irregularity cannot be regularized and the appointment contrary to the statutory rules are void in law as the essential qualifications are not satisfied.

“Resultantly, in view of the above discussion, finding no merit in the present writ petitions, the same are hereby dismissed. However, since the petitioners have worked on a higher post for the periods in question and the state government orders do not talk about any recovery, the state shall not, at any later stage, seek to recover the emoluments received by the petitioners, for the work done on the higher posts,” the high court held.

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