“Appointments to public office should be strictly in accordance with Articles 14 (equality before the law) and 16 (equality of opportunity in public employment) of the Indian Constitution. A bench comprising L Nageshwar Rao and Justice Sanjeev Khanna said.
The apex court was hearing an application filed by the Jammu and Kashmir government challenging an order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court directing the appointment of two candidates for single education in primary schools in Bunduk Khar Mahalla Rainawari.
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The apex court noted that the election was conducted under the scheme for primary school in Bunduk Khar Mahalla Rainawari where 11 candidates applied as per the notification dated November 29, 2002.
The second respondent (Ruhi Akhtar) was selected for appointment as teaching guide and the first respondent (Shahina Masrat) challenged the decision which was rejected by the single judge bench.
Outraged at the order, the first respondent filed an appeal which was approved by the division bench which directed the appointment of the first respondent within one month.
This indicates the continuity of the second respondent.
The state government then approached the Supreme Court challenging the decision that the High Court had erred in appointing the first respondent and handling the continuity of the second respondent.
The respondents were contesting for the post of teacher and the high court could not order the appointment of both the respondents, the state government said in its application.
The Supreme Court was informed that the Rehbar-e-Talem (R-T) scheme was introduced by the State of Jammu and Kashmir on April 28, 2000, with the participation and involvement of the community in promoting and decentralizing primary education management.
It said that relaxation of the upper age limit from 200 years to 200 years on the basis of government notification may not be applicable in the case of AA elections which was started by issuing advertisements in 2002.
The apex court said a division bench of the high court had examined the scheme and found that there was no minimum age limit and if the term ‘as far as possible’ was used as a guideline for the maximum age limit, officials would have the right to select candidates after 45 years. .
Further, the Division Bench was of the view that there would be no uniformity in the selection of teacher guides in the State. The project would be deemed unconstitutional as a violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. Approve, ”the apex court said.
The Supreme Court has said that considering the age limit provision as a directory, the executive officer will have the power to relax the age of more than 35 years.
The bench said that the second respondent who has crossed 355 years of age is not eligible for appointment and the High Court has given proper directions for appointment of the first respondent.
However, the High Court had directed the second respondent to continue in the job, but the state government was directed to fill any other vacancy as he has been working since 2004.
The bench said that he would not be entitled to any benefit other than the salary and other allowances already paid for his services before the date of his appointment.
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