The Delhi High Court held that a diploma or degree is considered complete not on the date of the final examinations but on the date of the result declaration.

The Court dismissed a Writ Petition filed by a Candidate who was disqualified for the post of Assistant Electric Fitter (AEF) by the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) due to pending final diploma examinations.

The Court noted that, unless expressly stated otherwise, candidates should consider educational qualifications and minimum experience requirements as essential when applying for a particular position.

A diploma/ degree is said to have been completed on the date of declaration of results and shall not relate back to the concluding date of examinations”, the Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh observed.

Advocate Parvinder Chauhan appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Laavanya Kaushik appeared for the Respondent.

The Petitioner approached the High Court by way of a writ petition under Article 226 challenging the rejection of his candidature for the position of AEF by the DSSSB. The Petitioner, having pursued a diploma in Electrical Engineering, faced rejection based on an alleged overlap between the practical training period and the final semester exams. Despite securing a score above the cut-off, he was excluded from the selection list, prompting him to seek redress through representations and grievance mechanisms.

The Court framed the first issue “Whether this Court can issue writ of certiorari quashing the rejection notice dated 25th August 2020?

The Court, guided by Article 226 of the Constitution, noted that interference in orders of statutory authorities is only justified in the case of a significant violation of the individual’s rights. The Bench observed, “a mere irregularity which does not substantially affect the cause of the petitioner shall not be a ground for the Court to intervene with the order passed by the concerned authority”.

Furthermore, the Court outlined two key principles for issuing a writ of certiorari: it does not function as an appellate authority, intervening only for apparent errors of law, and it considers circumstances equitably. “Simply put, certiorari is issued for correcting errors of jurisdiction exercised by inferior Courts, for Courts violating principles of natural justice and acting illegally and, the Court issuing such a writ shall act in supervision and not in appeal”, the Bench added.

The Bench noted the timing of when a diploma is deemed completed, specifying that it is considered successful upon the declaration of a pass result, not retroactively from the date of final examinations. Emphasizing that essential experience should be calculated from the date of the diploma result's declaration, especially for vacancies based on educational qualifications, the Court noted that a diploma is completed on the date of the pass result.

A diploma is said to have been successfully completed when the candidates result is declared as passed and not just after doing his part of the process by appearing in the final examinations. It must be noted that mere appearance in the examinations does not guarantee the candidate that he will pass, there exists uncertainty as the result may or may not be in favor of the candidate”, the Bench observed.

Consequently, the Bench found no significant grounds to intervene in the petitioner's challenge to the Rejection Notice, stating the absence of apparent errors in the order. The Bench noted, “a finding of fact, howsoever erroneous, recorded by a Court or a Tribunal cannot be challenged in proceedings for certiorari on the ground that the material evidence adduced before the Court, or the tribunal was insufficient or inadequate to sustain the impugned finding”.

The Court framed the second issue: “Whether a writ in the nature of mandamus can be issued by this Court directing the respondents to declare the petitioner as successful and further direct the respondent no. 1 to appoint the petitioner to the post of Assistant Electric Fitter (Post Code - 16/12) with respondent no. 1 against a post reserved for the SC Category?

The Court reiterated the law on the issuance of a writ of mandamus, emphasizing that it is granted when a person establishes a legal right that has been infringed due to a legal duty not fulfilled. The Bench observed that appointment to a post cannot be claimed as a matter of right, and the recruiting authority must ensure a transparent and fair selection process.

Mandamus literally means a command. A writ of mandamus is issued in favour of a person who establishes a legal right in himself. A writ of mandamus is issued against a person who has a legal duty to perform but has failed and/or neglected to do so. Such a legal duty emanates from either in discharge of a public duty or by operation of law”, the Cout observed.

Furthermore, the Court noted that the petitioner, having no vested right, cannot assert a legal or fundamental right merely based on an admit card and higher marks. The Court held that the rejection of the petitioner's candidature was in compliance with the Advertisement's instructions and that there was no infringement of a legal right.

The Court noted, “an advertisement inviting applications for appointment to a particular post does not create any legal or fundamental right in favor of an applicant which can be enforced by way of a writ jurisdiction. It is prudent to note to this effect that unless malafide on part of the recruiting authority can be established an applicant cannot assert any violation of a legal or fundamental right”.

Therefore, the Court declined to grant a writ of mandamus to direct reconsideration of the petitioner's candidature.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Petition.

Cause Title: Manish Kumar v Delhi Transco Limited And Anr. (2023:DHC:9242)

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