Change in Recruitment Advertisement to Comply with Rules, Legal: Sikkim HC
Sikkim High Court in Dechen Ongmu Bhutia and Anr Vs. Sikkim Public Service Commission and Anr — W.P. (C) No.13 of 2018, refused to include M.Phil. as a qualification in the recruitment of Assistant Professor. Although it had appeared in the advertisement issued by Sikkim Public Service Commission it was later rectified by issuing a corrigendum. The court held that if the qualification prescribed went against the recruitment rules and was rectified such amendment cannot be illegal.
The single-judge bench of Hon’ble Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan held:
“It is for the employer to determine the qualification that may be rules. required for a particular post. The petitioners as candidates applying to the post of Assistant Professor cannot dictate to the employer from whom they seek employment as to what the qualification should be for their employment. The petitioners have neither challenged the service rules nor the advertisement. The only challenge as stated before was to the corrigendum seeking to remove the word ‘M. Phil’ from the advertisement.”
The petitioners had the qualification of M.Phil. and were working as Assistant Professors on an ad hoc basis. The Sikkim Public Service Commission published an advertisement dated 13.10.2017 for direct recruitment of 100 posts of Assistant Professor in Government Colleges. A corrigendum issued on 09.11.2017 removed the qualification of M.Phil. from the advertisement making the petitioners ineligible for recruitment. Aggrieved, the petitioners approached the court.
The petitioners contended that the rules of the game cannot be changed once the process has started. The respondent submitted that the advertisement was issued under the Sikkim Government College Lecturers’ Recruitment (Amendment) Rules 2011 which were made compliant to University Grants Commission Regulations[i] 2009. The said regulations prescribed mandatory qualification as a Master’s degree and clearing the National Eligibility Test (NET), or an accredited test (State Level Eligibility Test- SLET/SET). Only the candidates having a Ph.D. degree were exempt from clearing NET or SLET/SET and the same benefits were not extended to candidates having M.Phil.
The court observed that the advertisement is bound by the recruitment and service rules and the words M.Phil. appearing in the advertisement had gone against the rules. Therefore, it was incidental that the error was to be rectified. The court held:
“A perusal of the advertisement makes it clear that the word “M.Phil.” was incorrectly inserted in the advertisement and if it remained there it would be in conflict with the minimum educational qualification as required by the service rules. In such a situation it was incumbent upon the SPSC to have issued the corrigendum to caste out the mistake it had made in the advertisement and correct it which had mislead the petitioners to approach this court.”
Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition.
[i] UGC (Minimum Qualifications Required for the Appointment and Career Advancement of Teachers in Universities and Institutions Affiliated to it) (3rd Amendment), Regulation 2009
Vaibhav Karadale | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL