Landmark Judgement on Eligibility Criteria in Public Appointments

In a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of India, a crucial decision was made regarding eligibility criteria in public appointments. The case involved a series of petitions filed by the respondent challenging the denial of appointment to various positions in the municipality. Despite possessing qualifications in Civil Engineering, the respondent’s claims for higher positions were repeatedly dismissed. The judgement sheds light on the importance of adhering to established rules and procedures in public appointments. Stay updated on this pivotal legal development. #LegalJustice #SupremeCourt #RuleofLaw


  • The respondent, who was appointed as Road Gang Mazdoor in 1988, filed multiple petitions seeking appointment to various posts in the municipality.
  • Despite her qualifications in Civil Engineering, her requests for appointment as Overseer, Public Works Supervisor, and Town Planning Inspector were repeatedly denied.
  • The High Court passed various orders directing consideration of her claims for appointment, but the final decision was not in her favor.
  • The Commissioner of Municipal Administration rejected her claim for the post of Town Planning Inspector citing specific rules governing the appointment process.
  • Even after being appointed as Revenue Assistant, the respondent continued to seek appointment to higher positions, which were consistently refused based on the applicable rules.
  • The High Court directed the concerned authorities to consider her claims within specific timeframes, but her eligibility for certain posts remained a point of contention.
  • Ultimately, the Division Bench of the Madras High Court upheld the decision rejecting her claim for the post of Town Planning Inspector.
  • Appointment to the post of Town Planning Inspector is not contemplated from amongst the Revenue Inspectors, so no parity can be claimed based on illegality by Nagercoil Municipality
  • Reference is made to relevant cases – Chandigarh Administration & Anr. v. Jagjit Singh & Anr. and Kulwinder Pal Singh & Anr. v. State of Punjab & Ors.
  • High Court directed the appellants to dispose of the representation of the respondent in accordance with the law and Tribunal’s order in OA No 3517 of 2002
  • In Writ Appeal (MD) No. 163 of 2015, High Court gave appellants opportunity to comply with the order; failure would lead to appearance in person
  • Cost of Rs. 20,000 imposed on respondent for initiating untenable and frivolous proceedings; to be deposited with Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority within three months from the judgment date
  • The appeal is allowed and the High Court’s order dated March 22, 2017 is set aside

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  • The High Court directed consideration for the appointment of the respondent to the post of Town Planning Inspector, which was illegal.
  • The respondent’s claim for promotion was not justified as the post of Town Planning Inspector has specific eligibility criteria and the Revenue Assistant is not in the feeder cadre.
  • The appointments made were not in line with the recruitment rules or laws governing the process.
  • Possessing educational qualifications alone does not entitle one to a public post; appointments must adhere to established rules and procedures.
  • The High Court’s repeated directions without legal basis and threats of contempt were deemed unlawful.
  • The respondent’s appointment as Revenue Assistant in 2006 was not a basis for automatic promotion to higher posts without meeting the required criteria.
  • Appointment to public posts cannot be solely based on possession of educational qualifications.
  • Illegality cannot be equated or compared
  • Each case of illegality must be judged on its own merits
  • There can be no parity in illegal actions

Also Read: Lt. Col. Om Dutt Sharma vs. Ministry of Defence: OROP Entitlement for Army Postal Service Personnel


Case Number: C.A. No.-006565-006565 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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