The Supreme Court upheld a recruitment notification issued by Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) for the post of Home Science lecturers.

The Court said that if the Rule does not prescribe a subject-wise speciality, there is no justification for the Tribunal or the High Court to examine the propriety or the beneficial effect of the rule.

The Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) had issued a notification for vacancy, out of which 18 positions were for Home Science lecturers. However, one of the candidates filed an Application before the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal) to quash the notification, arguing that the specialised subjects within Home Science were not specified. Although no interim order was issued by the Tribunal, recruitment was made pending the outcome of the Application.

The Tribunal quashed the notification on the ground that specifying the subject categories was necessary for advertising the vacant posts. The Karnataka High Court also confirmed this order.

The Supreme Court now had to ascertain whether the notification was liable to be quashed for not providing the breakup of the subjects within Home Science.

The Supreme Court referred to Rules 3 and 4 of the Karnataka Education Department Service (Department of Collegiate Education) (Special Recruitment) Rules, 1993 [1993 Rules] and stated that the advertisement specified all the requirements such as eligibility criteria, selection methods, educational qualifications, age limit etc.

Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha and Justice Aravind Kumar observed, “The reason for emphasising the Rule position is to indicate that these lecturers, upon appointment, would be teaching undergraduate students in the Home Science department. The qualification is therefore, confined to, a postgraduation degree in Home Science. As long as a candidate holds a master’s degree in Home Science, he/she will be qualified for applying to the post. It does not matter in which speciality within Home Science the master’s degree is obtained.

AOR Dinesh Kumar Garg represented the appellants, while AOR Arjun Harkauli appeared for the respondents.

The Court explained that “if the Rule does not prescribe a subject-wise speciality, there is no justification for the Tribunal or the High Court to examine the propriety, or for that matter, the beneficial effect of the rule.

The Court stated that the lecturers of Home Science in undergraduate programs run by the Government Colleges were treated as one cadre and recruitment to the posts was also advertised as such.

The Court remarked, “The High Court committed an error in not focussing on what the Rule provides for and whether the advertisement is in consonance with the Rule. If the High Court had confined itself to the basic features of judicial review, it would have avoided committing the error that it did.

The Court held that the Tribunal and the High Court had erroneously based their conclusions on policy considerations and set-aside the judgments and upheld the recruitment process.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeals.

Cause Title: Smt. Vidya K. & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 137)


Appellants: AOR Dinesh Kumar Garg and V. N. Raghupathy; Advocate Parikshit P. Angadi

Respondents: AOR Arjun Harkauli, Bimlesh Kumar Singh, Anjana Chandrashekar, S. N. Bhat, V. N. Raghupathy and Anup Jain; Advocates D.P. Chaturvedi, Nishanth Patil and Rohit Prasad

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