Published on: 2 August 2023 at 15:15 IST
The Delhi High Court has stated that no employee of the State has the right to claim that the rules governing the conditions of their service shall remain the same forever.
The Court held that it is within the State’s jurisdiction to modify, amend, and vary the qualifications, eligibility criteria, and other conditions of service, including promotion avenues, based on administrative exigencies.
The Division Bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva and Justice Vikas Mahajan referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in P.U. Joshi v. Accountant General [2003 2 SCC 632], asserting that a government servant cannot challenge the authority of the State to amend and enforce new rules related to an existing service.
While ensuring rights or benefits already earned, acquired, or accrued, employees have no right to challenge the State’s authority in this regard.
The case in question pertained to a Petitioner seeking quashing of a condition issued by the Union of India (first respondent) requiring a degree in law as a qualification for an Assistant to be promoted to the post of Court Officer in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), as it was considered arbitrary and discriminatory.
The Petitioner, who had joined as a Lower Division Clerk and was later promoted to the post of Assistant, had applied for the post of Court Officer on a deputation basis but was not selected.
The Petitioner sought relaxation of the law degree requirement, but the request was not heeded. Subsequently, the Petitioner sought quashing of the Recruitment Rules, contending that the degree in law for promotion to Court Officer should be optional, not mandatory.
The High Court, in light of the P.U. Joshi case, held that the prescription of qualifications and other conditions of service, including promotions and criteria, falls within the purview of policy and is the exclusive jurisdiction of the State.
The Court denied the relief sought by the Petitioner to quash the condition requiring a law degree for promotion to Court Officer.
The judgment reaffirms the State’s authority to modify service rules based on administrative needs and ensures that employees cannot demand unchanging service conditions.
The ruling upholds the discretion and jurisdiction of the State in matters related to qualifications, promotions, and service conditions.