Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the Principal Secretary to Government, Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, to review within 12 weeks, the rules in relation to the selection and appointment to various posts more specifically for the posts under Group-3 and Group-4 services as well as basic services and accordingly, prescribe the minimum educational qualifications as well as maximum educational qualifications in consonance with the concept of level playing field, enabling the suitable candidates to secure public appointment by participating in the open competitive process.
Justice S.M.Subramaniam gave the directive while rejecting a plea from M.Sakkaraichamy, a B.E.Mechanical Engineering degree holder, who sought a direction to the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission to appoint him to the post of Assistant in Revenue department.
The petitioner was successful in the written examination and attended the oral interview. But he was not considered on account of the fact he was a B.E. degree holder (overqualified). He was declared as not possessing the requisite educational qualifications with reference to the notification issued, which requires degree of B.A or B.Sc or B.Com or B.O.L or B.B.A or B.B.M or B.Lit.
The judge said on account of large scale unemployment problem in our great nation, it was unfortunate that the engineering degree holders, agricultural degree holders and other professional degree holders and the master degree holders were participating in the recruitment process even for Group-4 services and for basic services in government departments and even in high court services. However, the state was duty bound to provide equal opportunity in public employment to all the citizens, who were all aspiring to secure public employment through open competitive process. If over qualified candidates were appointed for performing the duties and responsibilities attached to Group-4 services and basic services, undoubtedly, efficiency level in the public administration would be brought down. After getting appointment these over qualified persons were not performing their duties and responsibilities attached to the posts under Group-4 services as well as basic services, the judge added.
The judge said acute unemployment issues prompted this over qualified persons to apply for such posts under Group-4 services as well as for the basic services. However, the competent authorities may not be in a position to effectively extract work from these employees with reference to the job responsibility. For instance, if a professional degree holder or a master degree holder was appointed as Office Assistant, Sweeper or Driver or any other basic services, the administrative officials cannot direct them to perform certain duties and responsibilities by virtue of their professional qualifications. They may not perform their duties as rules required. Those employees would be reluctant in performing their duties and responsibilities and therefore, very purpose and object of prescribing educational qualifications for a particular job profile, was not only defeated, but the same would result lowering the efficiency level in public administration, the judge added.
The judge said equally, candidates who were possessing under qualification cannot be allowed to perform higher responsibility. All these aspects were to be considered by the competent authorities of the state government and its organizations and corporations while undertaking the process of issuing recruitment notification to the particular post or cadre. Currently, minimum educational qualifications and other related criteria were prescribed by the employers. However, no maximum educational qualifications were prescribed, so as to restrict the opportunity to more suitable candidates. This being the reason, those over qualified persons and professional degree holders were participating in the recruitment process for the posts under
Group-4 services as well as basic services, the judge added.The judge said, “This court is of the considered opinion that appointments of overqualified persons in the lower posts are to be stopped at once, in order to provide equal opportunity to the unemployed youths, who are all possessing suitable qualifications for the particular posts notified”. In the event of appointing the over qualified persons in the lower posts, constitutional rights of the suitably qualified persons were infringed. If the professional degree holders and master degree holders were appointed as Sweeper, Office
Assistant or to the basic services, constitutional rights of the suitable candidate who were actually qualified for the posts were infringed and those candidates cannot compete with the over qualified candidates in the matter of performing in the written examination. Thus, the prescription of educational qualification must be in consonance with the job profile and the nature of posts.
The concept of level playing field was to be adopted, while prescribing educational qualifications for the posts under Group-4 services and basic services, the judge added.