The Supreme Court has reiterated that Courts cannot prescribe the qualification or declare the equivalency of a course. It added that equivalence of qualification was a matter to be determined by the expert bodies i.e., the State, being the recruiting authority.

The Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Manoj Mishra and Justice Aravind Kumar observed that “It is trite law that courts would not prescribe the qualification and/or declare the equivalency of a course. Until and unless rule itself prescribes the equivalency namely, different courses being treated alike, the courts would not supplement its views or substitute its views to that of expert bodies.”

Advocate Tapas Das appeared for the appellant and Advocate A.K. Sharma appeared for the Union of India.

In this case, the appellants were claiming promotion to the post of Superintendent BR Grade-I and Assistant Engineer as per Column 11 of General Reserve Engineer Force Group ‘C’ and Group ‘D’ Recruitment Rules, 1982 (‘GREF Rules, 1982’). The High Court had rejected the petition on the ground that the appellants were not possessing requisite qualification and therefore were not eligible for promotion as per Rule 11 of the GREF Rules, 1982.

The Apex Court noted that the appellants were possessing Diploma in Draughtsman Estimating and Design (DED) and said that the contention raised by the appellant that the Diploma in Civil Engineering was to be treated as equivalent to the Diploma in DED could not be accepted.

“...In so far as the contention regarding qualification for promotion, the rule itself is explicit and clear, namely, it prescribes for promotion to Superintendent BR Grade-I only, those candidates possessing Diploma in Civil Engineering with 5 years regular service in the grade in General Reserve Engineering Force would be eligible.” said the Apex Court.

The Apex Court also said that “The presumption on which the Writ Petition seems to have been presented is on the premise that appellants have been denied promotion on the ground that they possess a two year diploma not three year diploma, by completely ignoring the fact that denial of promotion is on the ground that candidates do not possess the prescribed requisite qualification namely “Diploma in Civil Engineering” and “Diploma in DED” possessed by them is not as prescribed under the Rules.”

Therefore, prayer of the appellants could not be accepted, and accordingly, the appeal was rejected.

Cause Title- Unnikrishnan CV and Ors. V. Union of India & Ors.

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