Dismissing a petition filed by one Vikas Sawant, son of a retired Class IV employee at Government Central Press, Mumbai, the Bombay High Court has held that direct recruitment to a government service bypassing the recruitment rules or the normal selection procedures only on the ground that the petitioner is a ward of a retired Class IV employee would ‘fly in the face of Article 16(2) of the Constitution’.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice VK Tahilramani and Justice MS Sonak upheld the MAT order dated April 17, 2014, rejecting the petitioner’s application seeking direct appointment to his father’s post. The court also rejected the petitioner’s contention that he was being discriminated against as he belonged to the Scheduled Caste community.
Before the petitioner’s father retired (from September 1, 2002), he made an application dated January 4, 2002, requesting the Manager, Government Central Press, Mumbai, to appoint his son i.e., the present petitioner to a Class IV post. For this purpose, the petitioner and his father relied upon GRs dated April 14, 1981, and March 6, 1990. The petitioner contended that in terms of these GRs, the wards of Class IV employees are entitled to be directly recruited to Class IV posts in government service subject no doubt to the fulfilment of the conditions prescribed in the said GR dated April 14, 1981.
Submissions and Judgment
Petitioner’s counsel Neeta Gaikwad submitted that her client fulfils all the conditions prescribed in the GR dated April 14, 1981, and, therefore, the respondents were not justified in denying direct recruitment to the petitioner. She submitted that GRs dated April 14, 1981, and March 1990, make it quite clear that direct recruitment is to be offered to the wards of Class IV employees in government service if they fulfil the eligibility conditions prescribed in the said GR.
She also submitted that such direct employment has in fact been offered to at least six candidates at the Government Central Press itself and this information was supplied to the petitioner under the Right to Information Act by communication dated October 5, 2012.
She alleged that her client was discriminated against as nothing else would explain the recruitment of six others who were also in similar circumstances as the petitioner.
Appearing for the State, AGP NC Walimbe argued that the petitioner seeks to misconstrue the scope and import of GRs dated April 14, 1981, and March 6, 1990. He submitted that the two GRs, if read in conjunction with one another, merely provide for relaxation in the matter of registration with the local employment exchange. He said the two GRs do not provide for direct employment to wards of Class IV government employees.
Upon examination of contentions from both parties, the court noted that nothing in the two GRs suggested that there was any such right to direct recruitment for wards of Class IV employees:
“There is nothing in the GR dated 14th April 1981 which suggests that the wards of class IV government employees are entitled to the direct recruitment to class IV posts bypassing the normal selection procedures prescribed in the recruitment rules or bypassing the constitutional requirements prescribed by Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. The only limited relaxation granted to wards of class IV employees is in the matter of registration with the local employment exchange, which condition, would otherwise be insisted upon in case of other applicants desirous of seeking employment to class IV posts in government service. The MAT, has quite correctly interpreted and construed the GR dated 14th April 1981 and there is really no jurisdictional error or perversity so as to warrant interference with the view taken by the MAT.“
It also rejected allegations of discrimination alleged by the petitioner observing that all the six recruitments to wards of former Class IV employees were as per the prescribed recruitment rules and procedures.