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TMT.P.VASANTHA versus THE DISTRICT COLLECTOR

High Court of Madras

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Tmt.P.Vasantha v. The District Collector - WRIT PETITION (MD) No.4718 of 2007, [2007] RD-TN 2385 (18 July 2007)

BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT

DATED : 18/07/2007

CORAM

THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.CHANDRU

WRIT PETITION (MD) No.4718 of 2007,

WRIT PETITION (MD) No. 4721, 4971 and 5954 of 2007 and

M.P.(MD)Nos.1, 2, 3, 1, 1, 1 and 2 of 2007

W.P.(MD) No.4718 of 2007

Tmt.P.Vasantha .. Petitioner vs.

1.The District Collector,

Dindigul District,

Dindigul.

2.The District Project Officer,

Anganvadi Centres,

Dindigul District,

Dindigul.

3.The Child Development Project Officer,

Anganvadi Centres,

Vadamadurai,

Dindigul District.

4.Mrs. Devi .. Respondents Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus to call for the records on the file of the 3rd respondent, proceedings Na.Ka.No.221/A1/06 dt. 18.12.2006 for the appointment of Anganvadi Assistant to Sengalpatty Anganavadi Centre in Vedasenthur Taluk, Dindigul District and to quash the order of appointment of 4th respondent, consequently to direct the 1st respondent to appoint the petitioner as the Anganvadi Assistant of Sengalpatty Village in vedasanthur Taluk, Dindigul District.

For petitioner ... Mr. A.R.Sethupathy For respondents ... Mr.A.Sunderrajan Government Advocate for R1 to R3 M/s.Raj and Pathy for R4 W.P.(MD) No.4721 of 2007

Tmt.S.Ramayee .. Petitioner vs.

1.The District Collector,

Dindigul District,

Dindigul.

2.The District Project Officer,

Anganvadi Centres,

Dindigul District,

Dindigul.

3.The Child Development Project Officer,

Anganvadi Centres,

Vadamadurai,

Dindigul District.

4.Mrs. Chithra .. Respondents Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus to call for the records on the file of the 3rd respondent in proceedings Na.Ka.No.61/2007 dt. 9.4.2007 for the appointment of Anganvadi Assistant to Reddiapatty Anganavadi Centre in Vedasenthur Taluk, Dindigul District and to quash the same and consequently to direct the 1st and 2nd respondents to appoint the petitioner as the Anganvadi Assistant of Reddiapatty Village in Vedasanthur Taluk, Dindigul District. For petitioner : Mr. A.R.Sethupathy

For respondents : Mr.A.Sunderrajan

Government Advocate for R1 to R3 M/s.Raj and Pathy for R4 W.P.(MD) No.4971 of 2007

P.Muthu Selvi .. Petitioner vs.

1.The District Collector,

Madurai District,

Madurai.

2.The Personal Assistant

to the District Collector,

(Noon Meal),

Office of the District Collector,

Madurai.

3.The Block Development Officer/

Commissioner,

Thirumangalam Panchayat Union,

Thirumangalam,

Madurai District.

4.Tmt.Ponnazhagu Pappathi .. Respondents Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus calling for the records relating to the impugned order of the first respondent in Na.Ka. No.88553/ 2006/Sa.Vu.Thi.2/dated 24.5.2007 and quash the same and consequently direct the respondents 1 to 3 herein to consider the appointment of the petitioner in accordance with rules of appointment as per the notification issued by the third respondent.

For petitioner : Mr. Veera Kathiravan For respondents : Mrs. V.Chellamal,

Spl.Govt.Pleader for R1 to R3 Mr.M.Arumugam for R4 W.P.(MD) No.5954 of 2007

Mrs.Karthikavalli .. Petitioner vs.

1.The District Collector,

Virudhunagar District,

Virudhunagar.

2.The Personal Assistant

to District Collector,

(Noon Meal)

Virudhunagar,

Virudhunagar District.

3.The Block Development Officer,

Narikudi Panchayat Union,

Virudhunagar District.

4.Karthika Jothi. .. Respondents Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus to call for the records of the 2nd respondent in his proceedings in Na.Ka.No.R3/614/07 dated 28.6.2007 and quash the same as illegal and unenforceable and further direct the respondents No.1 to 3 to consider the petitioner's application for the post of helper in Anaikulam Panchayat Union Primary School, Narikudi Panchayat Union, Virudhunagar District. For petitioner : Mr. G.Marimuthu

For respondents : Mr.A.Sunderrajan

Government Advocate for R1 to R3 :COMMON ORDER



In W.P.(MD)No. 4971 of 2007, the prayer is to consider the appointment of the petitioner in the place of the third respondent as Noon-Meal Organiser in Chokkanathanpatti, Kappalur.

2. In W.P.(MD)No.5954 of 2007, the petitioner wants appointment to the post of Helper in the Noon Meal Centre at Anaikulam Village Panchayat Primary School in the place of 4th respondent therein.

3. In W.P.(MD) No.4718 of 2007, relates to the Anganvadi Centres where the petitioner seeks appointment as an Anganvadi Assistant in Sengalpatti Village, Vadasanthur Taluk.

4. In W.P.(MD) No.4721 of 2007, the petitioner wants an appointment to the petitioner as an Anganvadi Assistant in Vedasanthur Taluk to the exclusion of the 4th respondent.

5. In all these Writ Petitions, the question relates to the claim for appointment either as Noon-Meal Organiser or Helper or Assistants in the Anganvadi Centres and most of the arguments are based on similar contentions. Therefore, it was thought necessary to deal with them together.

6. Insofar as the appointment to the post of Assistants in the Anganvadi Centres, the matter is covered by Government Orders prescribing norms and guidelines while making those appointments. Normally, a Selection Committee for selection of Assistants consists of Panchayat Union Commissioner, District Project Officer of the Anganvadi Centres of the respective Districts and Child Development Project Officer as well as Government Medical Officer of Primary Health Centres.

7. As per the guidelines issued by the Government, the selection is by an interview committee. After conducting an interview a list of candidates block- wise are sent to the District Collector and he approves the selection on that basis. Appointments are made by the District Collector.

8. As per the revised guidelines issued in G.O.Ms.No.237 Social Welfare (Noon-Meal) Department dated 18.8.1997, the persons to be selected should be a local person in the village or he should be residing within 1 KM radius of the Noon-Meal Centre. The minimum age is 20 years and the maximum age is 35 years and in case of widows and destitute women, relaxation can be granted upto 40 years. The minimum educational qualification is X Standard pass. While at the time of appointment, they should be below 40 years and their service should be put an end on completion of 55 years of age. However, the earlier order G.O.Ms.No.303 Social Welfare and Noon-Meal Project Department dated 19.8.2005 further guidelines were given. It is stated in that order, that wherever a vacancy arises in Anganvadi Centres, a local village qualified person must be appointed and in case of non-availability of qualified person, they should consider the name of other villages in the same Panchayat Union within 10 Kms radius from the village can be considered for the said appointment.

9. In the counter affidavit filed in W.P.(MD)No.4718 of 2007 and 4721 of 2007, it is stated by the official respondents that no person is claimed to have any experience in having held the post unless an order of appointment to that effect is produced by them and that several aspects are to be considered by the Selection Committee. As per the interview and by Committee's joint decision, the selection is made. In both the petitions, there is no case is made out against the process of selection except for a claim of preferences that the experience that they had allegedly obtained without there being an appointment order in their favour, should have been taken into account.

10. In W.P.(MD)No.4971 of 2007, as already stated, in respect of the selection to the post of Noon-Meal Organiser, the selection process has to go by G.O.Ms.No.88 Social Welfare and Noon Meal Department dated 21.8.2006. Normally, the selection is done by a District Level Selection Committee which comprises of Personal Assistant (NMP) to the District Collector, Project Officer (Child Development) and Block Development officer of the Panchayat Union. As per the guidelines issued by the Government and circulars by the Directorate of Social and Welfare and Noon Meal Project Department, following is the criteria for selection to the post of Noon-Meal Organiser. The candidates should have studied upto X Standard in the new syllabus or should have passed under SSLC in the old syllabus and they should be between the age of 25 and 40 years. If no persons are available within that age group in case of trible areas, the person who had crossed 20 years can be considered for appointment and they must reside in the Noon Meal area and they must also have the knowledge of Tamil and well versed in Thirukkural. No person can be appointed as an Organiser, Cook, or Helper if these criteria is not found. Preference should be given to widows and women who were deserted by their husbands and they should have the knowledge of maintaining accounts in the noon-meal centre.

11. A counter affidavit has been filed in W.P.(MD) No.4971 of 2007 wherein it is clearly stated by the official respondents that the locality of a person is a preference and not a qualification and the candidates are selected after a proper interview committee. The details of the interview were also given.

12. In all these Writ Petitions arguments were mostly made either on the basis of the so called previous experience or on the basis of a pre-eminent preference based upon the locality of the petitioner. Further attempts were also made in some cases that the person who was not selected is a widow therefore, they should have get some sympathy in the matter of selection.

13. As rightly contested by the respondents, the persons who were claiming experience for having worked in noon-meal centres, do not have any such records for the said purpose and it was not as if any appointment order was in their favour. In one of the petition, the petitioner had very frankly conceded that she was not getting remuneration for having worked in the said centre.

14. The question that arises for consideration is whether any preference based upon locality can be considered to the exclusion of other consideration by the Department.

15. As rightly contended by the official respondents, preferences based upon the locality is only a preference and not a basic qualification. If preference has been extended solely based upon the residence of a candidate, the same will be hit by Articles 16(2) of the Constitution and Courts have frowned upon any preference being shown upon the locality.

16. A Division Bench of this Court in the judgment reported in 1990-1-LW 271 [National Life Insurance Employees Association, rep. by its General Secretary and another v. The Life Insurance Corporation of India, Madras] has dealt in a similar issue. The relevant passage found in paras 6 and 7 are as follows:

Para 6: "Though Art.15 does not mention the word 'residence' Art.16, dealing with equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, states that no citizen shall, on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for or discriminated against in respect of any employment or office under the State." Para 7. "... Therefore, when the 'note' says that 'only candidates in the specified Exchanges alone are eligible to apply, it results in a classification, which is unwarranted, unjust and not provided, even in the Regulations of the respondent-Corporation. Under S.49(2) of the Life Insurance Corporation Act, the service conditions could be regulated only by Regulations framed by it and not by administrative decisions taken by different authorities stipulating terms and conditions, which offend Constitutional provisions. In the opening part of the advertisement, the intention of extending 'preference' to those residing in the branches situate in the areas mentioned therein clearly bring about the intention of confining recruitment based on the residence of the applicants and to achieve it, the registration in the concerned Employment Exchanges had been adopted."

17. Therefore, if the contentions of the petitioners is to be accepted then the preference should be given solely on the basis of the residence, and that will be hit by Article 16(2) of the Constitution. However, considering the fact that the post requires constant attention towards the children and the availability of the person in a nearby area is preferable and a proximity of distance by the eligible candidates may be constitutionally permissible but the selection cannot be solely on the ground of residential preferences to the exclusion of other criteria has to be accepted as it will hit Article 16(2) of the Constitution. As rightly contended by the official respondents, the proximity of residence/locality is only a preference and not a qualification by itself. Once it is established that none of the selected candidates are otherwise disqualified they cannot be edged out of consideration only on the ground that they were not being the residents of the locality.

18. Further, preferring a candidate from a particular hamlet to the exclusion of candidates from other hamlets in the same Village Panchayat Union or in respect of Panchayat Union Centres preferring the candidates from only one village to the exclusion of other villages living in the same panchayat union may also be arbitrary and in many times, it may also result in violating the communal roster being followed.

19. Under the circumstances, there are no merits in the Writ Petitions filed by the petitioners. The Writ Petitions will stand dismissed. No costs. Consequently, connected Miscellaneous Petitions will also stand dismissed. To

1.The District Collector,

Madurai District,

Madurai.

2.The Personal Assistant

to the District Collector,

(Noon Meal),

Office of the District Collector,

Madurai.

3.The Block Development Officer/

Commissioner,

Thirumangalam Panchayat Union,

Thirumangalam,

Madurai District.

4.The District Project Officer,

Anganvadi Centres,

Dindigul District,

Dindigul.

5.The Child Development Project Officer,

Anganvadi Centres,

Vadamadurai,

Dindigul District.

6.The District Collector,

Madurai District,

Madurai.

7.The Personal Assistant

to the District Collector,

(Noon Meal),

Office of the District Collector,

Madurai.

8.The Block Development Officer

Commissioner,

Thirumangalam Panchayat Union,

Thirumangalam,

Madurai District.

9.The District Collector,

Virudhunagar District,

Virudhunagar.

10.The Personal Assistant

to District Collector,

(Noon Meal)

Virudhunagar,

Virudhunagar District.

11.The Block Development Officer,

Narikudi Panchayat Union,

Virudhunagar District.


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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