Published On: February 08, 2022 at 15:31 IST
Bombay High Court has held that a Writ Court cannot substitute its own view for that of the Government in a matter of policy.
The decision came in the Case of Sandhya Manohar Waghchoure v. State of Maharashtra through General Administration Dept & Anr. The High Court was dealing with a Petition that sought quashing of a Government resolution regarding the appointment of Assistant Public Prosecutors. The Petition was particularly challenged the age limit criterion for the post mentioned in the resolution.
The Resolution stated that applications could be made by candidates who completed 45 years of age during the period from March 1, 2020, until the date when the resolution was issued i.e. December 17, 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an opportunity was given for an appointment as a ‘one-time special case’ till December 31, 2022.
Advocate RV Pai representing the Petitioner argued that the crucial aspect was that the cut-off date for the age limit of 45 years must be attained by the date when the resolution was published. Apparently, the Petitioner had crossed the age of 45 years on December 26, 2021. The advertisement published on January 7, 2022, thus rendered all persons who crossed 45 years ineligible.
Advocate RV Pai submitted that the end date of December 17, 2021 was irrational with no cogent nexus with the object of the resolution and the logical cut-off date ought to be January 7, 2022. He further submitted that a discernible rational nexus and intelligible differentia are the cornerstones of all Government policies.
A Bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar hearing the matter observed
“What date should be fixed for the operation of any particular Government resolution, either as the starting or the ending point, is a matter of Government policy.”
The Bench observed that a Writ Court will not substitute its own view for that of the Government in a matter of policy. Unless a particular Government action is found to be ultra vires of the Constitution or a statute on settled tests, a Writ Court will not interfere merely because it is preferable to do so.
The Bench while dismissing the Petition said that it did not find any part of the resolution so ‘Manifestly arbitrary’ that it could not be allowed to stand.