There cannot be any different age limit only on the basis of place of birth or place of residence, the bench observed.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court, in Mukesh Kumar Umar v State of MP, has held that different age criteria for the candidates from outside the state and the candidates who are domicile of state of Madhya Pradesh in relation to employment under the state government is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla was considering the challenge to the condition of different age limits for the candidates of domicile of state of Madhya Pradesh and candidates from outside Madhya Pradesh in the matter of appointment to the post of Assistant Professor in the Department of Higher Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh.
The age limit for the candidates domicile of Madhya Pradesh was ‘who have completed 21 years of age but not completed 40 years of age’ whereas for the candidates outside the state was ‘who have completed 21 years of age but not completed 28 years of age’.
The bench observed that both, under Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India, the actions of the state in granting relaxation in age only to the candidates who are domicile of the state of Madhya Pradesh is contrary to the constitutional mandate.
One of the arguments put forth by the state was that the appointment under the state could not be carried out from the year 1993 onwards, therefore, the candidates of state of Madhya Pradesh were in disadvantageous position and hence the age relaxation to them is justified.
Rejecting this contention, the bench observed: “If the State is unable to make an appointment for long number of years then it is the State alone, which has to be blamed. However, the Constitutional mandate of providing equality of opportunity and no discrimination on the basis of place of residence or place of birth cannot be permitted to be given a go-bye only for the reason that the State was not able to conclude the employment process in the State for large number of years.”
Referring to several apex court decisions, the bench observed that no citizen can be given preference nor can any discrimination be practised against him on the ground only of residence.