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Rajni Pandey v. Chief Of The Army Staff & Others - WRIT - A No. 30291 of 2002  RD-AH 1633 (13 July 2005)
Judgement reserved on 10.5.2005
Judgement delivered on 13.7.2005
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 30291 of 2002
The Chief of the Army Staff, New Delhi and others
Hon'ble Sunil Ambwani, J.
Heard Sri Sanjai Srivastava, learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri H.R.S. Bist for respondents 1, 2 and 3. Sri A.K. Misra appears for respondent no. 4 and 5. He had put appearance in the year 2002 but has not filed any counter affidavit. His request for adjournment was not accepted.
The petitioner was an applicant for the two posts of stenographers advertised by Rajput Regimental Centre, Fatehgarh along with other posts. The publication declared the posts to be in the pay scale of Rs. 4000-6000/-; the age of the candidate to be between 18-25 years and qualifications to be matriculate with shorthand speed of 150 word per minute, and typing speed of 40 word per minute(English). The note appended to the advertisement required applications along with testimonials to reach the Quarter Master, Rajput Regimental Centre, Fatehgarh, U.P. by 15.2.2002. The petitioner had passed Secondary School Examination in the year 1994 from Central Board of Secondary Education and had passed the first year of the two year Diploma course in Modern Office Management and Secretarial Practice vide certificate dated 2.8.2001. She applied and was selected and placed at serial no. 2 in the select list. By letter dated 17.6.2002 she was sent a medical certificate form and was informed by Lt. Col. of Officiating Quarter Master for Commandant that her police verification papers have been forwarded to the Superintendent of Police, District Ghazipur and that her appointment will be considered subject to production of Technical Diploma Certificate (short hand) by 29.6.2002.
The petitioner by her letter dated 20.6.2002 made a representation to Chief of Army Staff , Army Headquarters, New Delhi stating that the advertisement provided the qualifications to be matriculate with requisite speed of short hand and typing. The concerned officer has raised a doubt on his first year Diploma Certificate issued by Government Girls, Polytechnic, Gorakhpur. Inspite of medical examination and police verification completed on 26.6.2002, she was not considered for appointment. She requested that since she will complete the maximum age of 25 years of age on 11.8.2002, the appointment letter be issued to her.
By this writ petition, she has prayed for a writ of certiorari calling for the record and quashing the letter/order dated 17.6.2002 requiring her to produce two years diploma certificate and for a direction to decide her representation. By an amendment vide order dated 2.1.2003, she has prayed for quashing the whole selection/appointments made in pursuance of advertisement dated 9.2.2002 and to direct the respondent no. 2 to appoint petitioner on the post of Stenographer in Rajput Regimental Centre, Fatehgarh.
In the counter affidavit, it is stated that two posts of stenographers were authorised in the peace establishment of the centre on 31.7.1997, but no stenographers were posted. The Army Headquarters gave sanction for direct recruitment of two stenographers vide letter dated 26.6.2001 with validity of six months only. On receipt of no objection certificate from Department of Personnel and Training, DGI and Ministry of Labour, Jam Nagar House, New Delhi, the vacancies were notified to District Employment Exchange vide letter dated 24.9.2001. The required number of candidates did not respond. The vacancies were, therefore, again notified in local news paper ''Dainik Jagran' on 5.12.2001. Once again the required number of candidates did not apply and thus the Army Headquarters was approached to extend the validity of sanction. The validity was extended till 31.3.2002. Once again since required number of candidates were not available and thus on a request the validity was again extended and the posts were advertised. A total number of 60 candidates applied for the post of stenographer Group III and were issued call letters to report to Rejput Regimental Centre on 9.3.2002 for written test and interview. The technical educational certificate were required to be produced by the candidates. Sri Ravindra Singh Rathor and Rajni Pandey (petitioner) and Sri Jitendra Kumar Singh in the order to merit passed the written test and interview and were called vide call letter for final scrutiny of documents on 15.5.2002. The petitioner was found to possess first year diploma of two years diploma course on Modern Office Management and Secretarial Practice from Government Mahila Polytechnic, Gorakhpur. She had not completed the course, and could not produce the certificate of technical qualification from the qualifications testing board. The office had not instructed the candidates to produce two years Diploma Certificate. She was asked to produce valid technical qualification, short hand (English) and Type writing(English) certificate issued by the Board of Technical Education. The Army Headquarters had extended the validity of sanction for recruitment on 30.6.2002. The petitioner could not produce the valid certificate by 29.6.2002 and thus the results were announced and her name were struck out of the merit list and the next reserved candidates was considered for appointments.
Learned counsel for the petitioner states that there was no requirement of any technical educational qualification for the post to be certified by any technical education board . The Recruitment Rules for Stenographers Group III issued by Adjutant, General Branch at CRG-4 (CIB) (a) do not provide for any technical qualification. The recruitment rules issued on 12.1.1994 provide the educational and other qualifications required for direct recruitment, to be matriculate or equivalent and that the candidate must possess a speed of 80 word per minute either in English or in Hindi to be translated and typed within the time prescribed for the purpose. The petitioner had completed the second year course and the certificate was issued to her only a few days later than 30.6.2002. Her name, however, was arbitrarily struck off from the select list and the next person was given appointment. It is contended that where a technical qualification is not necessary, the insistence to produce the second year certificate was illegal and arbitrary and was made only to favour the reserve candidate. Lastly it is contended that the sanction of the post to fill up the post was extended on 30.6.2002 could not be a ground to reject the candidature of a selected candidate awaiting appointment orders.
After hearing parties and perusing the relevant rules including the general guidelines/procedural formalities to be followed for filling up Group C & D vacancies through direct recruitment, I find that a technical certificate issued by technical education board was not the essential qualification for appointment. The Rules and guidelines for recruitment as well as the advertisement did not provide for possessing any such technical qualification. The qualification announced as essential for the post of stenographers was matriculate with short hand speed of 100 per minute (English) and typing speed of 40 word per minute (English). In the supplementary counter affidavit of Lt. Col. M.S. Raju, Quarter Master for Commandant, Rajput Regimental Central, Fatehgarh, it is clearly stated in paragraph 5 that the requisite qualifications were not amended and no corrigendum was issued. The requirement of valid certificate from technical education board/universities was insisted only in the call letter issued for written test and interview dated 26.2.2002. The petitioner was required to submit the original certificates by 29.6.2002. She was thus illegally disqualified.
The requirement of valid certificate from technical education Board/University was neither prescribed in the rules nor in the advertisement. The authority issuing call letters for written test and interview was not competent authority to lay down the essential qualification for the post. The petitioner was fully qualified and had attained the required speed in short hand and typing. She had secured second position in the merit list. The fact that she possessed only first year mark sheet in diploma in Office Management and Secretarial Practice from Government Girls Polytechnic, Gorakhpur was not of any consequence as this was neither essential qualification nor preferential qualification for appointment to the post. When a candidate holds the minimum qualification provided in the rules and in the advertisement the fact that she could not produce the certificate of the additional qualification by the last date provided by the appointment authority could not be a ground to deny appointment to her. The affidavit of the petitioner accompanying the application dated 13.11.2002, discloses that she has completed two years Diploma Course and her result was available on the Internet before 29.6.2002 and she expected to be issued the certificate in the first week of August, 2002. She in fact received the certificate of the two years course on 1.8.2002 and the mark sheet on 13.8.2002 which has been brought on record. The respondents, however, did not accept the certificate as the post was sanctioned to be filled up only upto 30.6.2002. In my opinion the petitioner was treated arbitrarily in rejecting her candidate and refusing her request to produce the certificate, the result of which was available on the Internet. Even otherwise this certificate of the course pursued by her as additional qualification was not essential for appointment. She had passed the test and was declared selected. She, therefore, could not be refused appointment.
The writ petition is allowed. The order of appointment of Sri Jitendra Kumar, respondent no. 4 placed at third in the merit list is set aside. The petitioner shall be given appointment without any delay with seniority with effect from the date she was entitled to be appointed if her candidature was not struck out.
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