Not Higher, Basic Qualification Needed For Selection? SC Issues Notice To J&K & State Service Selection Board [Read Order]

The Supreme Court, on Friday, issued notice to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the Service Selection Board for the Power Development Department, seeking their response on a Petition challenging a High Court ruling, wherein it was held that a candidate with a higher qualification cannot be considered eligible for a post for which he does not have the basic qualification.

The Bench comprising Justice A.K. Goel and Justice U.U. Lalit is hearing Petitions filed by candidates whose candidature was rejected by the Department as they possessed a diploma in electrical engineering as against Matric with ITI in relevant trade, which was the prescribed qualification.

In the impugned order, a Division Bench of the High Court, headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad, had relied upon the Supreme Court judgment in the case of P.M. Latha and Another v. State of Kerala and others, (2003) 3 SCC 541 wherein it was held that a B.Ed. Degree holder was not eligible for the post of a nursery teacher.

The Court had then observed, "Admittedly, the writ petitioners/private respondents did not possess this qualification though they claim to possess the allegedly higher qualification of diploma in Electrical Engineering. It was also contended by the counsel for the appellants that there is nothing on record to establish that a diploma in Electrical Engineering subsumes the qualification of Matric with ITI in the relevant trade... There is no reason for us to assume and presume that the Government wanted to employ persons of higher qualifications than Matric with ITI in the relevant trade for the post of Technician-III."

The Petitioners have challenged this ruling, contending that P.M. Latha's case is distinguishable from the case at hand.

The Respondents, on the other hand, have relied on the minutes of the meeting of the Board, wherein it was held that only ITI holders in the relevant trade should be made eligible for the post.

Taking note of this submission, the Bench opined, "We are of the view that consideration of the contention of the petitioners will require hearing the Selection Board. Notice to State of Jammu and Kashmir and Service Selection Board which may be issued through the standing counsel of the State."

The case is now likely to come up for hearing in the first week of January, 2018. Meanwhile, the Court has ordered maintenance of status quo.

Read the Order Here