The Supreme Court in an appeal challenging the judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the Himachal Pradesh High Court reiterated that the cut-off date for acquiring qualification advertised for the post is the last date of application.

The Bench comprising Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath stated –

"This Court in the Ashok Kumar Sonkar Vs. Union of India reported in (2007) 4 SCC 54 and in the case of Rakesh Kumar Sharma Vs. State (NCT of Delhi) and Ors. reported in (2013) 11 SCC 58 has held that the cut-off date for acquiring the qualification advertised is the last date of application. It is sought to be urged on behalf of the respondent No.1 that since he has appeared in the examination in July, 2018, though the result has been declared on 19.12.2018, he should be deemed to have acquired the qualification in July, 2018, i.e. prior to the date of advertisement."

Advocate Abhinav Mukerji appeared for the appellant while Advocate Arup Banerjee appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the appellant i.e., the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd. had published an advertisement in the year 2018 inviting the application for the post of Junior T/Mate/Junior Helper (Sub-Station)/Junior Helper (Power House) (E) and the respondent had applied for the same. As per the advertisement, the essential qualification for the same was metric pass and the desirable qualification was ITI Diploma in wireman/Electrical trade obtained through Regular Course from the institutions recognised by the Government. Hence, at the time of applying, the respondent was not possessing the equivalent qualification. The selection came to be cancelled as he did not possess the said qualification on the last date of application.

The respondent filed a writ petition before the High Court and the same was allowed by the Court. Being aggrieved with the decision of the High Court, the appellant, therefore, filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.

The Apex Court after considering all the facts held –

"In that view of the matter, the impugned judgment and order is not sustainable. The impugned judgment and order of the High Court dated 01.01.2021 is quashed and set aside. The writ petition filed by the respondent No.1 stands dismissed."

Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal, dismissed the writ petition of the respondent, and set aside the judgment of the High Court.

Cause Title – Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd. & Anr. v. Dharminder Singh

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