The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday ruled that persons holding a degree in engineering are not eligible to be appointed as junior engineers for vacancies recently advertised by the State Government wherein, the essential eligibility criteria specified was 'Diploma Holders in Engineering Discipline'.
The present Writ Petition, which was referred to a three-judge bench by the learned single judge, was filed by numerous candidates who were degree holders in Engineering and alleged that they had wrongly been ousted from recruitment to the said post. They contended that they held a qualification higher than diploma holders in Engineering Discipline and as such they ought to have been considered as eligible. A higher qualification cannot be viewed as disqualification and consequently it must be held that the degree holders cannot be ousted, they added.
Two primary questions that the court faced in this matter were (i) whether a degree in the field in question is entitled to be viewed as a higher qualification when compared to a diploma in that field?; and (ii) whether a degree holder can be held to be ineligible to participate in a selection process for Junior Engineer?
The three-judge bench comprising Justice B. K. Narayana, Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Pankaj Bhatia observed that the state government has the power to prescribe the requisite qualification required for an advertised post and it cannot be a matter for judicial review.
Answering the aforesaid first question in negative, they held that the Apex Court had in its verdict State of Uttarakhand & Ors. v. Deep Chandra Tewari & Anr., (2013) 15 SCC 557, already clarified that while the focus in diploma course was on practical knowledge, the degree course focused on theoretical knowledge. Thus, Diploma in Engineering and Graduate in Engineering cannot be held to be in the same channel. They noted a degree in the field in question cannot be viewed as a higher qualification when compared to Diploma in that field. Addressing the second question, the bench relied on the same precedent and held that Graduate in Engineering cannot be deemed to fulfill the qualifications which are prescribed for grant of Diploma.
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