Treat degree, diploma holders on par: SC
New Delhi, March 10
The government is free to treat degree and diploma holders on the same footing for the purpose of promotion and this would not violate Article 14 of the Constitution that prohibits treating equals as unequals or the other way round, the Supreme Court has ruled.
“It is entirely for the authorities to decide whether the degree holders and diploma holders should be treated at par or not for the purpose of promotion from the post of junior engineer to the post of assistant engineer,” a Bench of Justices RV Raveendran and Markandey Katju said.
Pointing out that such a move was a policy decision, the Bench said, “…it is well-settled that this court should not ordinarily interfere in policy decisions unless there is clear violation of some constitutional provision or the statute. We find no such violation in this case.”
The ruling came last week while dismissing an application filed by degree-holding engineers of Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department (PWD)”.
In our opinion, Article 14 should not be stretched too far, otherwise it will make the functioning of the administration impossible. The administrative authorities are in the best position to decide the requisite qualifications for promotion from JE to AE, and it is not for this court to sit over their decision like a court of appeal,” the verdict, written by Justice Katju for the Bench, said.
Further, the administrative authorities had experience in administration, and the court “must respect” this, and should not interfere readily with administrative decisions.
Citing an earlier ruling of the apex court that there should be “judicial restraint” in administrative decisions, the Bench said, “This principle will apply all the more to a rule under Article 309 of the Constitution.”