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Friday, February 20, 2015

Fixing eligibility for a particular post or even for admission to a course falls within the exclusive domain of the legislature/executive and cannot be the subject-matter of judicial review, unless found to be arbitrary, unreasonable or has been fixed without keeping in mind the nature of service, for which appointments are to be made, or has no rational nexus with the object(s) sought to be achieved by the statute. Such eligibility can be changed even for the purpose of promotion, unilaterally and the person seeking such promotion cannot raise the grievance that he should be governed only by the rules existing, when he joined service. In the matter of appointments, the authority concerned has unfettered powers so far as the procedural aspects are concerned, but it must meet the requirement of eligibility, etc. The court should therefore, refrain from interfering, unless the appointments so made, or the rejection of a candidature is found to have been done at the cost of "fair play", "good conscience" and "equity". (Vide State of J&K v. Shiv Ram Sharma (1999)3 SCC 653 and Praveen Singh v. State of Punjab (2000) 8 SCC 633.)" 11. Therefore, in view of the law laid down by this Court as above, we are of the opinion that since the respondent was not qualified for the post of driver, as such the High Court erred in law in directing the appellant to consider his case against the post of driver of heavy vehicle. 12. Therefore in the above circumstances, this appeal deserves to be allowed as the respondent is not qualified for the post of driver. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed.

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2061 OF 2015
              (@ Special Leave Petition (C) No. 21297 of 2014)


      The Rajasthan State Road
      Transport Corporation and others             ... Appellants


                                   Versus


      Revat Singh                                  ...Respondent






                               J U D G M E N T


      Prafulla C. Pant, J.




            This  appeal  is  directed  against  judgment  and  order  dated
      1.5.2014, passed by the High Court of  Judicature  for  Rajasthan,  in
      D.B. Civil Special Appeal (W) No. 428 of  2014  whereby  the  Division
      Bench declined to interfere with the order passed  by  learned  Single
      Judge.


   2. We have heard learned counsel for the parties, and perused the record.


   3. Brief facts of the case are  that  one  Kalyan  Singh  father  of  the
      respondent Revat Singh was a driver  with  appellant  Rajasthan  State
      Road  Transport  Corporation   (hereinafter   referred   to   as   the
      "Corporation").  He died  in  harness  on  26.6.2006.  The  respondent
      sought  compassionate  appointment  on  the  post   of   driver.   His
      educational qualification  was  8th  standard  pass.   The  appellants
      considered the application for appointment  on  compassionate  ground,
      and rejected the same on  the  ground  that  the  respondent  was  not
      qualified either for the post of driver  or  that  of  conductor.  The
      respondent was accordingly communicated by the appellants vide  letter
      dated 18.1.2008.  The respondent made further  correspondence  in  the
      matter after obtaining driving licence  on  23.1.2007.  However,  said
      licence was not for heavy  vehicles.   When  the  appellants  did  not
      accept request for   appointment  against  the  post  of  driver,  the
      respondent filed writ petition no. 1892 of 2011 which was  allowed  by
      the learned Single Judge vide order  dated  29.1.2014,  directing  the
      appellant to consider case of the respondent for the post of driver.


   4. Aggrieved by the order of the  learned  Single  Judge,  the  appellant
      filed intra court appeal, but the same was disposed of by the Division
      Bench of the High Court vide impugned order dated  1.5.2014  declining
      to interfere with the order of learned Single Judge, and observed that
      the said order advances the cause of justice considering the  hardship
      faced by the family of deceased employee.   However,  it  was  further
      observed by the Division Bench that the order would be treated to have
      been passed in the special facts and circumstances of the case.



   5. Learned counsel for the appellant - Rajasthan State Road Corporation -
      submitted before this Court that the High Court has erred  in  law  in
      directing the  appellant  to  consider  the  case  of  respondent  for
      appointment against the post of driver on  the  compassionate  ground.
      It is specifically pointed out that the respondent  is  not  qualified
      for the post of driver as he  is  neither  matriculate  nor  possessed
      driving licence for heavy vehicles.



   6. Shri Virender Kumar Sharma, learned counsel for  the  respondent,  did
      not deny that the respondent was only          8th standard pass,  and
      the driving licence obtained in the year 2007, was in respect of light
      vehicles.



   7. During arguments, we are informed by learned counsel for the appellant-
      Corporation that respondent  has  now  been  offered  and  engaged  as
      Artisan Grade III.  On behalf of the respondent, it  is  pleaded  that
      the respondent be engaged at least against post of Artisan  Grade  II.
      However, there is nothing on the record to  show  that  such  post  is
      lying vacant nor is it clear that a person can be  directly  appointed
      to the post of Artisan Grade II.


   8. In I.G.(Karmik) and others  vs. Prahalad Mani Tripathi  (2007)  6  SCC
      162,  this Court has held that compassionate appointment  can  not  be
      granted to a post for  which  the  candidate  is  ineligible.   It  is
      further held in said case that even though higher post was applied for
      on  compassionate  ground,  when  a  lower  post  offered  considering
      qualification and  eligibility  as  per  rules  was  accepted  by  the
      candidate, he cannot claim higher post.


   9. In Steel Authority of India Limited v. Madhusudan Das, (2008)  15  SCC
      560,  this Court has  clarified  the  law  relating  to  compassionate
      appointments in following words:
           "15. This Court in a large number of decisions has held that the
           appointment on compassionate  ground  cannot  be  claimed  as  a
           matter of right. It must be  provided  for  in  the  rules.  The
           criteria laid down therefor viz. that  the  death  of  the  sole
           bread earner of the family, must be established. It is meant  to
           provide for a minimum relief. When such contentions are  raised,
           the constitutional philosophy of equality behind making  such  a
           scheme be taken into consideration. Articles 14 and  16  of  the
           Constitution of  India  mandate  that  all  eligible  candidates
           should be considered for appointment in  the  posts  which  have
           fallen vacant. Appointment on compassionate ground offered to  a
           dependant of a deceased employee is an  exception  to  the  said
           rule. It is a concession, not a right. (See SBI  v.  Anju  Jain,
           (2008) 8 SCC 475 para 33.)"


  10. In State of Gujarat v. Arvindkumar T. Tiwari, (2012) 9 SCC  545,  this
      Court  while  examining  the  law  in  the  matters  of  compassionate
      appointment, has made following observations:
           "11. The courts and tribunals do not have  the  power  to  issue
           direction to make appointment by way of granting  relaxation  of
           eligibility or in contravention thereof. In  State  of  M.P.  v.
           Dharam Bir (1998) 6 SCC 165, this Court  while  dealing  with  a
           similar issue rejected the plea of humanitarian grounds and held
           as under: (SCC p. 175, para 31)


                 "31. ... The courts as also the tribunals have no power  to
                 override  the  mandatory  provisions  of   the   Rules   on
                 sympathetic  consideration  that  a  person,   though   not
                 possessing the essential educational qualifications, should
                 be allowed to continue on the post merely on the  basis  of
                 his experience. Such an order would amount to  altering  or
                 amending the statutory provisions made  by  the  Government
                 under Article 309 of the Constitution."


           12. Fixing  eligibility  for  a  particular  post  or  even  for
           admission to a course falls within the exclusive domain  of  the
           legislature/executive  and  cannot  be  the  subject-matter   of
           judicial review, unless found to be arbitrary,  unreasonable  or
           has been fixed without keeping in mind the  nature  of  service,
           for which appointments are to be made, or has no rational  nexus
           with the object(s) sought to be achieved by  the  statute.  Such
           eligibility can be changed even for the  purpose  of  promotion,
           unilaterally and the person seeking such promotion cannot  raise
           the grievance that he should  be  governed  only  by  the  rules
           existing, when he joined service. In the matter of appointments,
           the authority concerned has unfettered  powers  so  far  as  the
           procedural  aspects  are  concerned,  but  it  must   meet   the
           requirement of eligibility, etc.  The  court  should  therefore,
           refrain from interfering, unless the appointments  so  made,  or
           the rejection of a candidature is found to have been done at the
           cost of "fair play", "good conscience" and "equity". (Vide State
           of J&K v. Shiv Ram Sharma (1999)3 SCC 653 and Praveen  Singh  v.
           State of Punjab (2000) 8 SCC 633.)"


  11. Therefore, in view of the law laid down by this Court as above, we are
      of the opinion that since the respondent was  not  qualified  for  the
      post of driver, as such the High Court erred in law in  directing  the
      appellant to consider his case against the post  of  driver  of  heavy
      vehicle.


  12. Therefore in the above  circumstances,  this  appeal  deserves  to  be
      allowed as the respondent is not qualified for  the  post  of  driver.
      Accordingly, the appeal is allowed.  However, the respondent shall  be
      allowed to work on the post of Artisan Grade III as  offered  to  him.
      No order as to cost.


                                          ...................................
                                          ...J.
                                                   [Dipak Misra]







                                       ....................................J
                                       .
                                                 [Prafulla C. Pant]
      New Delhi;
      February 20, 2015.

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