Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday held that the court cannot alter the rules or policy decision of the government vis-a-vis the bar of qualifications set for a given post.
The court while setting aside the judgement of a single bench passed in 2017 in favour of degree holders of B.Pharmacy applying for the posts of Junior Pharmacists held that “the writ court is in error.”
In 2017, the Single Bench had directed the government to include Degree holders of B. Pharmacy for the posts of junior Pharmacists for which Diploma in Pharmacy as qualification was prescribed.
The Division Bench of Justice Rajnesh Oswal and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey recorded that writ court while holding that the writ petitioners possessed higher degree and that they could not be excluded from the select list has been clearly in error.
The Bench said, “Participation of the writ petitioners in the written test and interview or the fact that their names had figured in merit list would not alter the situation and make them eligible for the post, especially so when the Government had clearly conveyed to the Board that candidates possessing B. Pharmacy were not eligible for the post.”
The court while giving reference to Supreme Court directives recorded that the law is settled that prescription of qualification for a post is a matter of recruitment policy, and that the state as employer is entitled to prescribe qualifications as a condition of eligibility after taking into consideration nature of job, aptitudes required for efficient discharge of duties, functionality of qualifications, course content leading up to acquisition of qualification etc.
The Division Bench held that it is the government which is competent to decide what should be the qualification prescribed for a post and in the instant case, the government has in fact made Rules prescribing the qualifications.
“These rules do not contain any provision stating that B. Pharmacy is equivalent to Diploma in Pharmacy or that B. Pharmacy presupposes acquisition of Diploma in Pharmacy. In these circumstances, we are of the view that this Court does not have the power to substitute the government’s policy or decision in this regard by its own opinion or view, or to add to the rules what is not contained therein,” the Bench recorded.
The court while allowing the appeal of J&K Service Selection Board and another and setting aside the judgement dated 19, September, 2017 passed by writ court in a case titled Basit Aslam wani & An. Vs State of J&K & others directed the Board and the Official respondents to complete the process of recommendations and/or appointments against the post.
Earlier, the Board ( advertisement notice no.07 of 2013 dated 16 May, 2013) notified, inter alia, 07 posts of Junior Pharmacist, which included 04 Open Merit posts, in District Cadre Kulgam in the Health Department.
The notice notified the prescribed qualification for the post as 10+2 with Diploma in Pharmacy from a recognized Institute or State Medical Faculty (SMF) or any Institute recognized by government but later the notification was challenged by candidates possessing Degree in B Pharmacy before the court.
The court in 2017 had directed the government to include the candidates possessing B Pharmacy as qualification in the recruitment process. The Board appealed against the judgement by pleading that it was against the prescribed rules.