Provision For Upper Age Limit Is Mandatory & Can’t Be Relaxed; Eligibility Criteria For Public Appointment Must Be Uniform
Case: The State of Jammu and Kashmir v. Shaheena Masarat and Anr.
Coram: Justices L Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna
Case No: Civil Appeal No. 4991 of 2012
Court Observation: “Appointments to public posts should be strictly in accordance with Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. Eligibility criteria should be uniform and there cannot be scope of arbitrary selections by unfettered discretion being vested in the authorities. Construing the provision relating to upper age limit as directory would be conferring unbridled power in the executive to choose persons of their choice by relaxing the age beyond 35 years. In such case, the provision would have to be declared as unconstitutional,”
“The eligibility criteria for appointment as Re-T by the scheme as well as the advertisement includes a condition that a candidate shall ‘as far as possible’ fulfill the age qualification as prescribed by the State Government. There is no dispute that the upper age limit for appointment as Re-T is 35 years. The Division Bench examined the scheme and noticed that there is no minimum age limit specified and if the words ‘as far as possible’ for upper age limit are interpreted as directory, the officers would have discretion to select candidates even after they cross 45 years. Further, the Division Bench was of the opinion that there will be no uniformity in selection of Re-Ts in the State. The scheme would be rendered unconstitutional as being violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, the High Court construed the provision relating to upper age limit as mandatory,”
Upper Age Limit, Eligibility Criteria, Public Appointment, Uniform