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Degree holders cannot be excluded from consideration for the post of Junior Engineer: Supreme Court sets aside Himachal Pradesh HC judgment

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The Supreme Court has held that Degree holders cannot be excluded from consideration for the lower post of Junior Engineers in a plea against Himachal Pradesh High Court which said that the Degree holders are not eligible for the appointment on the post of Junior Engineer (Electrical) notified by the Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission.

A divisional bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat noted, “…material significance is the fact that the higher post of Assistant Engineer (next in hierarchy to Junior Engineer) has nearly 2/3rds (64%) promotional quota. Amongst these individuals, those who held degrees before appointment as a Junior Engineers are entitled for consideration in a separate and distinct sub-quota, provided they function as a Junior Engineer continuously for a prescribed period.”

The petition has been filed by degree holders seeking direction to Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board to process their candidature depending upon the relative merits and proceed to issue a final selection list of successful candidates after interviews.

The bench observed, “Amongst these individuals, those who held degrees before appointment as a Junior Engineers are entitled for consideration in a separate and distinct sub-quota, provided they function as a Junior Engineer continuously for a prescribed period. This salient aspect cannot be overlooked; it only shows the intent of the rule makers not to exclude degree holders from consideration for the lower post of Junior Engineers.”

The issues in the matter was that, whether degree holders too can apply for the post of JEs, a close examination of the rules shows that a lion’s share of the posts at the JE level is set apart for direct recruitment.

However, when it is at the level of the higher post i.e. Assistant Engineer which is a promotional post direct recruitment is only to the extent of 36%. Of the balance 64%, various sub-quotas have been stipulated for feeder cadres; the largest percentage being for Junior Engineers. For a long time, even on the date of the advertisement, two distinct quotas (of 5%) had been set apart for promotion of Junior Engineers holding degree qualifications in the concerned subject.

Read Also: Supreme Court issues notice on Kerala youth’s appeal against Kerala HC order setting aside bail

The bench, while setting aside the High Court’s Judgment, directed the HPSEB to process the candidature of all applicants, including the degree holders who participated, and depending on the relative merits, proceed to issue the final selection list of all successful candidates, after holding interviews, etc. 

Read the judgment here;

18114_2020_37_1501_27366_Judgement_07-Apr-2021

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