The Madras High Court, Madurai Bench has said that mere presumptions and prejudices of anyone acting in any capacity should not be a valid reason for restricting someone else’s career growth as per the law.

A writ petition was filed by a Grade-II Police Constable against the order of the Commandant rejecting his request to promote him and provide seniority on par with his batch mates of the year 2007-2008.

A Single Bench of Justice Battu Devanand held, “If there is no such proven record of malfeasance, none should be deprived of their career and promotions which are given after a certain period of service as per certain statutes. Every responsible citizen should be given ample scope to prove their potential in the service of the nation without imposing any hurdles. In fact, facilitating bright future to all individuals without any discrimination ensures a strong and stable nation. So, mere presumptions and prejudices of anyone acting in any capacity shouldn't be a valid reason for restricting someone else's career growth as stipulated by the law in a democratic society.”

The Bench noted that it is the responsibility of the Court to take into account the 'agony' of persons like the petitioner and that no human being born on this planet has any choice to decide as to where or how to begin their journey of life.

Advocate S.M.A. Jinnah represented the petitioner while Additional Advocate General Veerakathiravan and Additional Government Pleader A. Kannan represented the respondents.

Factual Background -

The petitioner appeared for selection to the post of Grade-II Police Constable for the year 2007-2008 and he came up successful in all the tests conducted by the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board. The Recruitment Board published the selection list in their website and the register number of the petitioner found place therein. In the month of February, 2009, appointment orders were issued to all selected candidates but, the petitioner was not issued with the appointment order. Aggrieved by the action of the authorities concerned, the petitioner was constrained to file a writ petition before the High Court. The respondents therein took a stand before the Court that on verification, it was found that the petitioner was an active member of an association namely “Manitha Neethi Pasarai” and since the said association was involved in anti-social activity, the petitioner was not given appointment order.

The Court allowed the aforesaid writ petition but the respondent passed an order rejecting to give appointment order to the petitioner and challenging the same, the petitioner filed a writ petition and the respondents took a stand that since the petitioner was an active member in Manitha Neethi Pasarai, which is an offshoot of Student Islamic Movement of India, Al-Umma and Jihad Committee, the petitioner was denied appointment. The Court quashed the order and directed to issue appointment order to the petitioner in compliance of which, an appointment order was issued and the petitioner was posted at the IX Battalion Special Police Force. Subsequently, the petitioner submitted a representation requesting to grant seniority along with the candidates selected for the post of Grade-II Police Constables but the same was rejected. Aggrieved by the same, the writ petition was filed.

The High Court in the above regard observed, “None can choose their parents, place or nation of birth, colour of the body, language, region, religion or caste or race. Our life is given. None is superior or inferior to any one else. Hence all human beings must be provided with equal opportunity to unleash their full potential. That is how everyone gets a chance to serve the society in which they live performing various roles assigned to them.”

The Court said that this case does not fall under that negative criterion of threat to safety, security or national interests, that's why the petitioner was allowed earlier to be selected to the job in which he has been shouldering responsibilities without any blemish or complaint against his conduct for the past several years.

“Once taken into the government service in a particular batch , he will be naturally eligible for consideration for promotions along with his batch mates as per the statutory provisions. Depriving this would be against the principles of equity and natural justice”, also said the Court.

The Court further observed that in this civilized 21st century, such attitude must be changed in the minds of all, particularly the officers of the State and Central Governments, who are vested with the statutory powers, otherwise, the persons like the petitioner have to suffer like this without any fault on their part.

“Discrimination should not be shown in any form based on ones caste, race, colour, region or religion etc socio cultural identities. Only those persons with chronic shoddy past or acute illegal track record which is proven beyond doubt, and objectionable under the laws of the land should be restricted entry into certain core sectors, and confidential areas of administrative structures as the safety , security and crucial national interests will be at stake”, held the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petition, quashed the order, and directed the respondents to fix the seniority of the petitioner with this batchmates within four weeks.

Cause Title- M. Haja Sherif v. The State & Ors.

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