Qualification requirement for recruitment outside the realm of judicial review, except in cases of manifest arbitrariness: High Court of Karnataka

The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a filed petition challenging the government’s notice by which it amended the Karnataka Department of Education (Department of Public Instruction) Services (Recruitment) Rules 1967 and excluded the subjects, at know psychology and journalism at graduate level as a minimum qualification for recruitment. as a graduate teacher.

A dividing bench of Judge Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty mentioned,

“It is established in law that the qualification prescribed for appointment to office must be decided by an employer. The courts cannot fix the conditions or the eligibility. The question of the prescription of the qualification escapes judicial review unless that it is not affected by manifest arbitrariness”.

The Sampada petitioners and others have earned degrees in psychology and journalism as well as a bachelor’s degree in education. The petitioners have also passed the teacher eligibility test and are employed as teachers in private schools.

They had gone to court to have the Karnataka Department of Education (Department of Public Instruction) Services (Recruitment) Amendment Schedule of 1967 set aside, along with the schedule imposing a minimum qualification for the post of qualified primary teacher, excluding Psychology and Journalism subjects under the notification of 22.02.2022. In addition, they had asked the Respondent to include the combination of English, Psychology and Journalism subjects as eligibility criteria.

The bench noted that the qualification that has been prescribed for the amendment is not contrary to the minimum qualification prescribed by the National Board of Teacher Education, but is in addition to it. Further, he said, “The requirement of the qualification is a matter to be decided by experts. The provision has not been shown to suffer from manifest arbitrariness. The Government of Karnataka has prescribed the educational qualification in addition to the minimum qualification prescribed by the National Council for Teacher Education.”

He added,

“The qualification requirement by way of amendment cannot be considered contrary to the qualification prescribed by the National Board of Teacher Education. Therefore, the qualification requirement for recruitment to the position of graduate primary teacher cannot be cancelled.”

The court then held, “This Court cannot issue a writ of mandamus directing the prescription of a particular qualification. For the reasons stated above, we find no basis for the motion in writ. The same fails and is hereby dismissed.”

Case title: Sampada et al. state of karnataka

Case No: WP 8202/2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 139

Order date: April 22, 2022

Appearance: Advocate S Rajashekhar for the Petitioners; AGM Vani H for Respondents

Click here to read/download the order