Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed Public Service Commission(PSC) to proceed with selection of 1289 assistant professors in 96 disciplines in the degree colleges of the State.
“It is well settled in law that the advertisement notice does not confer any right on a candidate who responds to the notice, to be considered for the advertised post, to ask for finalization of the selection process or a right to oppose withdrawal of the post advertised or resist the abandonment of the selection process,” a bench of Justice Hasnain Massodi observed, dismissing a petition filed by candidates who had only MPhil degrees in their credit.
The PSC had invited applications from eligible candidates to fill up 1289 posts of Assistant Professors in 96 different disciplines in various degree colleges in the state. The selection process was to be undertaken in accordance with J&K Education (Gazetted) College service recruitment rules 2008 notified vide SRO-423. In terms of the SRO, a candidate with MPhil Degree would be eligible for the advertised position even if he had not qualified NET/SLET/SET.
However, the government in May 2013 deleted MPhil from the 2008 rules, as such a candidate with MPhil would not be eligible for the post unless he had qualified NET/SLET/SET.
It was challenged by petitioners, claiming at the time of the publication of the advertisement notice (09-PSC(DR-P) of 2013 dated 23 May 2013), they had to their credit MPhil degree and notwithstanding the government order, they were eligible of the posts.
“The competent authority would be well within its powers to change eligibility criteria after the advertisement notice. It may thereafter re-advertise the post now prescribing the changed eligibility criteria,” the court said.
The candidates who responded to the earlier notice and become ineligible under the new advertisement notice, court said, cannot insist that their eligibility should be assessed at the touchstone of the old and repealed recruitment rules and they be allowed to participate in the selection process.
The only exception, court said, would be where mala fides are alleged and substantiated on part of the employer or selection body in taking such decision.
While observing that PSC has taken pains to explain the background in which NET/SLET/SET was required in case of candidates with MPhil, the court said that the explanation given sounds convincing and the exercise of amendment is not tainted with any malafides.
“Writ petition is found devoid of any merit and is accordingly dismissed. The Commission shall proceed with the selection process so that 1289 vacancies are filled up with due dispatch,” the court said.
As per the present notifications, the prescribed qualification includes Master’s Degree in the subject concerned with at least 55% marks (50% marks in case of scheduled caste/Scheduled Tribe and Physically and visually handicapped candidates) or its equivalent grade of “B” in the seven point scale from an Indian University or equivalent course/degree from an Indian/Foreign University with NET/SLET conducted by the UGC/CSIR/Association of Indian University (AIU)/University of Kashmir/Jammu or Ph.D.