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Power Of Judicial Review Cannot Be Invoked To Decide Equivalence Of Prescribed Qualifications With Any Other Qualification: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
24 Nov 2021 1:22 PM GMT
Power Of Judicial Review Cannot Be Invoked To Decide Equivalence Of Prescribed Qualifications With Any Other Qualification: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that equivalence of prescribed qualifications with any other given qualification cannot be decided by the courts invoking its power of judicial review.

Equivalence of qualification is a matter for the State, as recruiting authority, to determine, the court said.

The bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari set aside a High Court judgment which held that the diploma/degree in Art and Craft given by the Kurukshetra University is equivalent to two-year Diploma in Art and Craft examination conducted by the Haryana Industrial Training Department or diploma in Art and Craft conducted by Director, Industrial Training and Vocational Education, Haryana.

In this case, one of the criteria of eligibility read thus: (ii) Two year Diploma in Art and Craft examination conducted by the Haryana Industrial Training Department or an equivalent qualification recognized by the Haryana Education Department. The case of the writ petitioners is that they passed their matriculation with the subject of Arts and Crafts/Drawing or they have passed the subject of Arts and Crafts/Drawing in their matriculation as additional subject. The High Court allowed the writ petitions.

In appeal, the court noticed that the experts in the Education Department have held the diploma in Art and Craft by the Kurukshetra University is not equivalent to the two-year diploma in Art and Craft awarded by the Haryana Industrial Training Department. The court noticed the following principles in this regard:

  1. The question regarding equivalence of educational qualifications is a technical question based on proper assessment and evaluation of the relevant academic standards and practical attainments of such qualifications. Where the decision of the Government is based on the recommendation of an expert body, then the Court, uninformed of relevant data and unaided by technical insights necessary for the purpose of determining equivalence, would not lightly disturb the decision of the Government unless it is based on extraneous or irrelevant considerations or actuated mala fides or is irrational and perverse or manifestly wrong. ( Mohammad Shujat Ali v. Union of India )
  2. It is not for the court to consider the relevance of qualification prescribed for various posts. (J. Ranga Swamy v. Government of Andhra Pradesh)
  3. The prescribed eligibility qualification for admission to a course or for recruitment to or promotion in service are matters to be considered by the appropriate authority. (State of Rajasthan v. Lata Arun)
  4. The equivalence is a technical academic matter. It cannot be implied or assumed. Any decision of the academic body of the university relating to equivalence should be by a specific order or resolution, duly published (Guru Nanak Dev University v. Sanjay Kumar Katwal)
  5. The State, as an employer, is entitled to prescribe qualifications as a condition of eligibility, after taking into consideration the nature of the job, the aptitude required for efficient discharge of duties, functionality of various qualifications, course content leading up to the acquisition of various qualifications, etc. (Zahoor Ahmad Rather & Ors. v. Sheikh Imtiyaz Ahmad)

Allowing the appeal, the court observed thus:

Judicial review can neither expand the ambit of the prescribed qualifications nor decide the equivalence of the prescribed qualifications with any other given qualification. Equivalence of qualification is a matter for the State, as recruiting authority, to determine. .. Having regard to the above, in our view, the High Court has erred in holding that the diploma/degree in Art and Craft given by the Kurukshetra University is equivalent to two-year Diploma in Art and Craft examination conducted by the Haryana Industrial Training Department or diploma in Art and Craft conducted by Director, Industrial Training and Vocational Education, Haryana.


Case name: Devender Bhaskar vs State of Haryana

Citation: LL 2021 SC 680

Case no. and Date: CA 7031 of 2021 | 24 November 2021

Coram: Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari


Click here to Read/Download Judgment



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