At, Central Administrative Tribunal Chandigarh Bench
By, THE HONOURABLE MRS. RAJWANT SANDHU
By, ADMINISTRATIVE MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE DR. BRAHM A. AGRAWAL
By, JUDICIAL MEMBER
For the Applicant: Karan Singla, Advocate. For the Respondent: Saraj Malakar, Advocate.
Rajwant Sandhu, Member (A):
1. This OA has been filed under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, seeking the following relief:-
That impugned order dated 4.7.2013, Annexure A-5 be quashed and the applicant be held an eligible candidate for consideration and appointment to the post of Nuclear Medicine Physicist
2. Averment has been made in the OA that the applicant joined the service of the PGIMER, respondent, as Junior Lab Technician vide appointment letter dated 15.12.1995 and was promoted as Senior Lab Technician, Department of Nuclear Medicine vide order dated 12.7.2001 (Annexure A-2). Advertisement No. PGI/RC/012/2013 dated 6.2.2013 (Annexure A-3) was issued inviting applications for the single post of Nuclear Medicine physicist (UR) in the pay scale of Rs. 15600-39100 + GP of Rs. 5400. The upper age limit for this post was prescribed as 35 years with the proviso that the age relaxation would be provided as per Government of India Rules. The applicant applied for the post and cleared the written examination, but was surprised to receive the impugned order/letter dated 4.7.2013 wherein it had been stated that his application for the post of Nuclear Medicne Physicist was rejected on the ground that the applicant did not fulfil the requisite age limit (Annexure A-5). The applicant submitted a representation dated 26.7.2013 (Annexure A-6) requesting that internal/serving departmental candidates had been allowed age relaxation by the respondent institute in the upper age limit and hence, the case of the applicant may also be considered accordingly. The cases of Sh. Kuldeep Soni appointed as Junior Photograpoher and Sh. Kulwant Singh appointed as Driver, have been referred where the Governing Body had allowed relaxation in the upper age limit. Also, vide office order dated 4.10.2004 (Annexure A-8), the upper age limit for the internal/departmental candidate for the post of Senior Technical Officer at the PGIMER was waived off.
3. In support of the claim of the applicant for relaxation in upper age limit, Rajinder Kumar Goel Vs. PGIMER, 1993(2) SCT 446 has been cited whereby the rule prescribing the upper age limit for the employees in service was held to be unreasonable and this view of the Honble Punjab and Haryana High Court had been upheld by the Apex Court also. Even in OA No. 631-CH-2011 titled Ashok Kumar Sharma Vs. PGIMER decided on 12.9.2012, it was held that prescribing upper age limit for the internal/departmental candidates who are already serving in the Institute, was unreasonable. Hence this OA.
4. In the written statement filed on behalf of the respondents, it has been stated that the applicant did not fulfil the upper age criteria for selection as Nuclear Medicine Physicist and hence his representation dated 27.6.2013 was rejected by the competent authority as per rules and as per decision of Governing Body dated 3.12.2008 (Annexure R-1).
5. When the matter came up for consideration on 21.4.2014, the learned counsel for the respondents as per direction dated 20.3.2014 produced the recommendations of the Standing Selection Committee dated 3.9.2013 regarding selection of Nuclear Medicine Physicist. From the same, it is evident that the applicant was interviewed by the Selection Committee and he was placed at Sr. No. 1 in the merit list.
6. Arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the parties were heard. Learned counsel for the applicant referred to the advertisement dated 6.2.2013 (Annexure A-3) wherein it had been mentioned that age relaxation would be given to the candidates as per Government of India rules. However, without according any such consideration, the application of the applicant was rejected although he had been working in the PGIMER since 1995. Learned counsel also referred to the judgement in OA. No. 631/CH/2011 titled Ashok Kumar Sharma Vs. PGI decided on 12.9.2012 wherein reference was made to the case of Rajender Kumar Goel (supra) and wherein the Hon’ble High Court had observed as follows:-
Even the prescription of an age limit for 40 years appears to be unreasonable. It is no doubt correct that an employer can prescribe a reasonable age limit so that a person is available for service for a reasonable period. However, keeping in view the fact that persons who have already put in long years of service, like the petitioner who has served the Institute from the year 1973 to 1992, i.e. for about 19 years and may have crossed the age limit of 40 years, would be rendered totally ineligible the action does not appear to be fair. In such a situation it would be reasonable to hold that the persons who are already in the service of the respondent institute should be granted the benefit of relaxation in such a way that they are not deprived of the chance to compete for the post. Accordingly, it is held that the provision in the rule as also the advertisement prescribing an age limit of 40 years, at least in respect of those already working in the institute, is unreasonable and persons already in the service of the institute should be allowed to compete for the post.
Rajinder Kumar Goel (supra) had attained finality upto the Apex Court with the dismissal of SLP No. 5015 of 1996. The applicant Sh. Ashok Kumar Sharma in OA. 631/CH/2011 was held to be eligible for consideration for appointment and such consideration would not be denied to him on the point of his having crossed the upper age limit. Learned counsel pressed that the applicant being a meritorious candidate, deserved consideration for appointment as Nuclear Medicine Physicist.
7. Learned counsel for the respondents stated that decisions regarding relaxation in the upper age limit were taken in the light of the directions of the Governing Body dated 3.12.2008 (Annexure R-1) and hence, the applicant was not eligible to be considered for the post of Nuclear Medicine Physicst.
7. We have given our thoughtful consideration to the matter. It is an admitted fact that the applicant is employed in the PGIMER since 1995 in the Department of Nuclear Medicine. The Sanding Selection Committee placed him at Sr. No. 1 in the merit list based on his performance in the written test and interview. The jurisdictional High Court has held vide Rajinder Kum
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ar Goel (supra) that prescribing an upper age limit for the internal candidates of the Institute respondent is unreasonable and Ashok Kumar Sharma (supra) was decided on 12.9.2012 keeping in view the fact that the judgement in Rajinder Kumar Goel (supra) had attained finality upto the Supreme Court by dismissal of SLP No. 5015 of 1996. 8. In this view of the matter, the impugned order dated 4.7.2013 (Annexure A-5) is quashed and the respondent Institute is directed to consider the applicant for appointment to the post of Nuclear Medicine Physicist without reference to his being overage as per the advertisement dated 6.2.2013. OA is allowed with these directions. No costs.