Allahabad High Court Judgement

Allahabad High Court Judgement

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice at mail@myadvocates.club
JUDGEMENT HEADLINE : Medical Fitness - Court Should Be Cautious In Supplanting The Process Adopted By Recruiting Agency And Substituting It By A Court Mandated Medical....
JUDGEMENT TITLE : Union Of India Thru' Ministry Of Railway Board And 2 Ors. Vs. Parul Punia On 01/11/2016 By Allahabad High Court
CASE NO : SPECIAL APPEAL NO. 968 OF 2015
CORAM : Hon'ble Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud,Chief Justice And Hon'ble Yashwant Varma,J.

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD

Chief Justice's Court AFR

Case :- SPECIAL APPEAL No. - 968 Of 2015

Appellant :- Union Of India Thru' Ministry Of Railway Board And 2 Ors.
Respondent :- Parul Punia
Counsel For Appellant :- Vivek Singh
Counsel For Respondent :- Akash Khare

Hon'ble Dr. Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud,Chief Justice
Hon'ble Yashwant Varma,J.

(Per : Dr D Y Chandrachud, CJ)

In Pursuance Of An Advertisement That Was Issued For Appointment Of Men And Women Constables In The Railway Protection Force In North Eastern Railway, The Respondent Applied For Selection. The Respondent Qualified In The Written Examination, Physical Efficiency Test And Interview But Was Rejected At The Stage Of Medical Examination On The Ground Of Having Failed To Meet The Standards Specified For Ocular Vision. This Led To The Filing Of A Writ Petition1 In Which An Order Was Passed In The Following Terms:
"Accordingly, Without Going Into Merit Of The Claim Of The Petitioner, It Is Hereby Directed That The Respondent No. 3 Shall Decide The Representation Of The Petitioner For Which He Is Permitted To File Fresh Representation, Which Shall Be Decided By The Respondent No. 3 On Its Own Merit, In Accordance With Law, Preferably Within A Period Of Six Weeks From The Date Of Production Of Certified Copy Of This Order Before The Said Respondents.
With The Aforesaid Observations, The Writ Petition Stands Disposed Of."

The Representation Submitted By The Respondent Was Considered And Rejected By The Chief Security Commissioner On 8 June 2015 On The Ground That Since The Respondent Failed To Meet The Required Standards In The Course Of Medical Examination And Was Categorized In Category B-1, Her Name Was Not Included In The Select List. On This Ground, The Representation Was Not Entertained.
When The Respondent Filed A Fresh Writ Petition, An Interim Order Was Passed By The Learned Single Judge Dated 16 September 2015, Whereby A Direction Was Issued To The Principal Of The King George Medical College, Lucknow2 To Get A Vision Test Conducted By A Doctor Authorized By Him Within Two Weeks. The Date Fixed By The Principal Was To Be Be Informed To The Inspector General-cum-Chief Security Commissioner Of The Railway Protection Force, North Eastern Railway, Gorakhpur Division, Gorakhpur Who Was Permitted To Depute An Officer To Be Present At The Time Of Medical Examination. However, In Case No One Appeared On Behalf Of The Chief Security Commissioner, The Medical Examination Was To Be Conducted On The Same Date.
Following The Interim Order, The Report Submitted By The Principal, KGMC Was Produced Before The Learned Single Judge. In The Impugned Order Dated 26 November 2015, The Learned Single Judge Noted That The Respondent Was Examined By A Panel Of Three Doctors From KGMC, Who Had Opined That Her Eye Sight Vision Is Within Normal Limits. The Learned Single Judge Held That It Is Thus Clear That The Respondent Has A Clear Vision And Was Wrongly Disqualified In The Medical Examination By The Appellants. Accordingly, The Writ Petition Was Allowed By Setting Aside The Order Dated 8 June 2015 Rejecting Her Representation And A Direction Was Issued To The Appellants To Consider Her For Appointment Within One Month From The Date Of Production Of A Certified Copy Of The Order. Costs Of Rs. 10,000/- Were Awarded Against The Appellants.
From The Record Of The Case, It Is Clear That The Respondent Was Not Included In The Select List Only On The Ground That In The Course Of The Medical Examination, Her Vision Was Not Found To Be Of The Requisite Standards And She Was Placed In Category B-1. In The First Writ Petition, A Direction Was Issued For Considering The Representation Of The Respondent. The Representation Was Rejected By The Authority On The Ground That The Medical Board Had Not Found The Respondent To Be Meeting The Prescribed Norms For Ocular Vision And Was Categorized In Category B-1. In The Interim Order Of The Learned Single Judge Dated 16 September 2015, A Direction Was Issued For The Examination Of The Respondent By A Team Of Medical Experts, To Be Nominated By The Principal, KGMC. The Learned Single Judge Observed That Ordinarily The Court Does Not Interfere In Cases Where The Candidate Has Been Rejected On Medical Grounds. Despite This, The Learned Single Judge Was Persuaded To Hold To The Contrary Albeit By An Interim Order.
The First Reason Which Weighed With The Learned Single Judge Was That The Representation Had Been Rejected In A 'casual Manner Without Assigning Convincing Reasons' In Support Of The Order. This Reading Of The Learned Single Judge Of The Order Disposing Of The Representation Is Not Correct. The Chief Security Commissioner In His Order Dated 8 June 2015 Recorded That Once The Respondent Had Been Found Not To Meet The Prescribed Norms In The Course Of The Medical Examination And Was Categorized In Category B-1, Her Name Could Not Be Included In The Select List. This Cannot In Our View Be Regarded As An Order Which Has Been Passed In A Casual Manner And Without Convincing Reasons. The Second Reason Which Weighed With The Learned Single Judge Was That The Respondent Had Produced A Report Of A Doctor From The All India Institute Of Medical Sciences, Dr Rajendra Prasad. Without Casting Aspersions On The Expertise Of The Doctor Whose Report Was Produced By The Respondent, We Must Emphasize The Inherent Danger In The Court Following Such A Line Of Inquiry. In A Number Of Such Cases, Candidates Who Have Been Invalidated On Medical Grounds Produce Expert Opinions Of Their Own To Cast Doubt On The Credibility Of The Official Medical Report Constituted By The Recruiting Body. In Such Cases, The Court May Not Have Any Means Of Verifying The Actual Identity Of The Person Who Was Examined In The Course Of The Medical Examination By The Doctor Whose Report Is Relied Upon By The Candidate. Hence, Even Though The Authority Whose Medical Report Was Produced By The Candidate May Be An Expert, The Basic Issue As To Whether The Identity Of The Candidate Who Was Examined, Matches The Identity Of The Person Who Has Applied For The Post Is A Serious Issue Which Cannot Be Ignored. The Third Reason Which Weighed With The Learned Single Judge In Passing The Interim Order Was That In A Judgment Of A Division Bench Dated 21 November 2007 (Arvind Kumar Sonkar Vs. State Of U.P. And Ors.)3, Such A Course Of Action Had Been Followed Of Having The Candidate Examined By A Substitute Board. What The Learned Single Judge While Passing The Interim Order Failed To Notice Was The Fact That The The Order Dated 21 November 2007 Of The Division Bench Was Passed By Consent. In That Case, A Learned Single Judge Had Directed The Authorities To Get The Petitioners Examined By A Special Medical Board. The Petitioners Had Challenged An Order Of Termination Which Had Been Passed On The Ground That They Had Failed To Fulfill The Minimum Eligibility Requirement For The Post Of Constables. When The Appeal Filed By The Constables Came Up For Hearing Before The Division Bench, The Order Of The Learned Single Judge Was Modified By Consent So As To Provide For Separate Boards, One For The Purpose Of An Eye Test And The Other For A Physical Test. The Boards Were To Consist Of A Doctor Each From A Government Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute And KGMC. This Order Which Was Passed By Consent Would Therefore Not Be Of Precedential Value. Hence, The Considerations Which Weighed With The Learned Single Judge In Issuing An Interim Direction Of 16 September 2015 Would Not Sustain Such An Order Being Passed.
Rule 51.1 Of The Railway Protection Force Rules, 1987 Provides That No Candidate Who Is Not Certified By The Divisional Medical Officer To Be In Good Mental And Bodily Health Of Prescribed Standard And Free From Any Physical Deformity Or Defect Likely To Interfere With The Efficient Performance Of His Duties In The Railway Protection Force Shall Be Called In For Training Or Appointed To The Force.
The Learned Counsel Appearing On Behalf Of The Appellant Has Submitted That There Is A Provision For A Review Medical Board And If The Respondent Was Aggrieved With The Rejection Of Her Candidature, She Could Have Sought A Reassessment By The Review Medical Board.
We Also Note That By The Interim Order Of The Learned Single Judge Dated 16 September 2015, The Principal, KGMC Was Required To Inform The Inspector General-cum-Chief Security Commissioner Of The Railway Protection Force Who Could Depute An Officer To Be Present At The Time Of Examination. The Grievance Of The Appellants Is That No Such Communication Was Issued By The Principal, KGMC To The Chief Security Commissioner And Hence, No Representative Could Be Even Deputed For The Purpose Of Verifying The Identity Of The Respondent. We Are Highlighting This Aspect To Emphasize The Danger When The Court Takes Upon Itself The Process Of Reassessing Findings Which Are Contained In The Medical Examination Conducted In The Course Of The Recruitment Process. Undoubtedly, In A Suitable Case, The Powers Of The Court Under Article 226 Are Wide Enough To Comprehend The Issuance Of Appropriate Directions But Such Powers Have To Be Wielded With Caution And Circumspection. Matters Relating To The Medical Evaluation Of Candidates In The Recruitment Process Involve Expert Determination. The Court Should Be Cautious In Supplanting The Process Adopted By The Recruiting Agency And Substituting It By A Court Mandated Medical Evaluation. In The Present Case The Proper Course Would Have Been To Permit An Evaluation Of The Medical Fitness Of The Respondent By A Review Medical Board Provided By The Appellants. Otherwise, The Recruitment Process Can Be Derailed If Such Requests Of Candidates Who Are Not Found To Be Medically Fit For Reassessment On The Basis Of Procedures Other Than Those Which Are Envisaged By The Recruiting Authority Are Allowed. This Would Ordinarily Be Impermissible.
For These Reasons, We Are Of The View That The Line Of Approach Which Was Followed At The Interlocutory Stage By The Learned Single Judge While Passing The Interim Order Dated 15 September 2015 And Which Ultimately Merged In And Formed The Basis Of The Final Direction Dated 26 November 2015 Is Unsustainable.
We, Accordingly, Allow The Special Appeal And Set Aside The Judgment And Order Of The Learned Single Judge Dated 26 November 2015. Instead And In Place Of The Direction Issued By The Learned Single, We Direct, That A Review Medical Board Shall Reassess The Case Of The Respondent And Shall Upon A Fresh Medical Examination Determine Whether The Respondent Meets The Medical Parameters For Recruitment. This Exercise Shall Be Carried Out No Later Than Within A Period Of One Month Of The Receipt Of A Certified Copy Of This Order. Based On The Report Of The Review Medical Board, Further Action As May Be Warranted In Law Shall Thereafter Be Taken By The Authorities For Considering The Candidature Of The Respondent Based On The Assessment.
The Special Appeal Is, Accordingly, Disposed Of. There Shall Be No Order As To Costs.

Go to Navigation