CIVIL

Md. Noor Alam & Ors. Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors.

In the absence of accreditation of the diploma by AICTE the petitioners were not eligible to be appointed in the said post. In the advertisement it was categorically mentioned that the candidates have to possess either a diploma in computer applications or information technology or equivalent and the said qualification was required to be accredited by AICTE.

IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA

Constitutional Writ Jurisdiction
Appellate Side

Present :- Hon’ble Justice Amrita Sinha

WP No. 144 [W] of 2019

Md. Noor Alam & Ors.
Vs.
The State of West Bengal & Ors.

For the writ petitioner :- Mr. Krishnendu Banerjee, Advocate
Md. Idrish, Advocate

For the respondent
Nos. 1 & 3 :- Mr. Raja Saha, Advocate
Mr. Bivekananda Tripathi, Advocate

For the respondent No. 2 :- Mr. Pradip Roy, Advocate
Ms. Shraboni Sarkar, Advocate

Judgment on :- 26-04-2019

Amrita Sinha, J.:-

The West Bengal Cooperative Service Commission published an advertisement being Advertisement No. 02/2017 inviting online applications for recruitment in several posts in various cooperative institutions as mentioned in the said advertisement.

The petitioners herein applied for the post of clerk. The educational qualification required for the said post was mentioned as “Graduate in any discipline with 50% marks in HS plus DCA or IT or equivalent accredited by AICTE”. As per the said advertisement DCA meant Diploma in Computer Applications with minimum one year duration. IT meant Information Technology, AICTE meant All India Council for Technical Education. The admit cards were issued in favour of the petitioners. The petitioners appeared in the
written test and were selected for the computer test and interview. The petitioners qualified in the computer test and the interview. A list of recommended candidates on the basis of merit-cum-preference was published. The petitioners’ name figured in the said list.

The Secretary of the Commission forwarded the list of candidates recommended by the Selection Committee of the Commission to the Managing Director of the bank with request to issue appointment letters in their favour. It was informed that the service will be guided by the Service Rules of the bank. Inter-se seniority of the recommended candidates to be observed irrespective of their date of joining.

In spite of their names being recommended for appointment to the post of clerk no formal appointment letter was issued in favour of the petitioners. No reason whatsoever was also communicated to the petitioners for not issuing the formal letter of appointment. The petitioners through their learned advocate served notice upon the respondent bank as well as the Commission demanding justice. No reply was given to the said letter. The petitioners also made application under the Right to Information Act enquiring whether any steps have been taken for issuance of the appointment letter in their favour. No response was forthcoming from the authority.

In such circumstances the petitioners filed the instant writ application with a prayer for issuance of writ of mandamus upon the respondent bank to accord appointment to the petitioners who are the recommended candidates as per the list prepared by the Selection Committee of the Commission. As per the direction passed by this court the respondent authorities filed report in the form of affidavit disclosing their stand as to non-issuance of the letter of appointment in favour of the petitioners in spite of their names being enlisted in the list of recommended candidates.

The bank has specifically mentioned that the appointment letter was not issued to the petitioners as they did not possess the requisite educational qualification for being appointed in the post of clerk. It has been mentioned that though the petitioners possess a diploma in computer applications but the said diploma was not accredited by AICTE.

The primary contention of the respondent bank is that at the time of verification of the documents of the petitioners it was detected that the diploma obtained by the petitioners were not accredited by AICTE as was the requirement mentioned in the notice of advertisement. In the absence of accreditation of the diploma by AICTE the petitioners were not eligible to be appointed in the said post. In the advertisement it was categorically mentioned that the candidates have to possess either a diploma in computer applications or information technology or equivalent and the said qualification was required to be accredited by AICTE.

It was further submitted that, in the application form it was specifically mentioned that if at any stage it is found that the candidate has suppressed information or provided wrong information his candidature was liable to be cancelled. It has been stated that the petitioners being fully aware that an accreditation was mandatorily required for getting the job the petitioners intentionally and deliberately suppressed the fact that their diploma was not accredited by AICTE. It has been submitted that the bank rightly refused to issue appointment letter in favour of the petitioners as they did not possess the
requisite qualification. The bank intimated the Commission that due to mismatch of the educational qualification the appointment letter was not issued in favour of the recommended candidates. The bank requested the Commission to forward names of candidates whose qualification was in conformity with the advertisement as published.

The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the West Bengal Cooperative Service Commission submitted that they have published the advertisement and recommended names of the candidates as per the requirement of the bank. It has been submitted that the applications were invited online and before the written examination the Commission did not have the scope to verify the documents with the originals. Based upon the information given by an applicant the Commission issued admit card for written examination. After evaluation of the answer scripts of the written test a merit list was prepared. The candidates were then required to submit the attested photocopy of their
documents and testimonials in support of their age and educational qualification. A final common merit list was prepared on the basis of meritcum-preference. The names of the petitioners were included in the list of recommended candidates with the intimation to the bank for issuance of formal letter of appointment.

After one month of the recommendation the Commission was intimated by the bank that due to mismatch of educational qualification appointment letter could not be issued in favour of the candidates and the Commission had been requested to recommend another set of candidates as per their requisition. The commission failed to understand how and where there was mismatch of the educational qualification. It was stated that in the meeting of the Selection Committee for proceeding with the recruitment process the
representative of the bank was present but the said representative did not specify and /or indicate the mismatch of the educational qualification of the candidates as per the advertisement.

From the submissions made on behalf of all the parties it appears that the issue involved in the instant writ petition revolves around a very small compass. Whether the diploma prescribed for appointment in the post of clerk requires accreditation by AICTE or not.
The Oxford dictionary meaning of the term ‘accreditation’ means the action or process of officially recognising someone as having a particular status or being qualified to perform a particular activity. The Cambridge dictionary meaning of the term ‘accreditation’ means the fact of being officially recognised, accepted, or approved of, or the act of
officially recognising, accepting or approving of something. The qualification that was prescribed for appointment was “Graduate in any discipline with 50% marks in HS plus DCA or IT or equivalent accredited by AICTE”

The ld. Advocate for the petitioners contend that the “or” mentioned in
between the subjects indicate that the diploma of computer applications and
information technology was not required to be accredited but only the diploma
in the equivalent subject required accreditation. The said submission is
fallacious. What was required to be accredited is the ‘diploma’ and not the
subject. The subject may have been computer applications, information
technology or any other equivalent subject.
The explanation provided by the petitioners that a diploma in computer
applications with minimum one year duration was enough and there is no
requirement of the said diploma to be accredited by AICTE is certainly not the
proper explanation.

According to the bank the candidate should possess either a diploma in
computer applications or information technology or equivalent but the diploma
should have been accredited by AICTE. Alternatively, it can be said that, if the diploma in any subject equivalent to computer applications or information technology is required to be accredited by AICTE then the diploma in computer applications or information technology is also required to be accredited by AICTE otherwise the education level of the candidates will not be at par.

It can never be the explanation that only the diploma in the equivalent subject is required to be accredited and not the diploma in computer applications or information technology. The All India Council for Technical Education is the body which provides accreditation to the degrees and diplomas granted by the private institutions. A candidate aspiring for a job with the cooperative bank is necessarily required to possess a diploma which is duly accredited by the said body. In the absence of such accreditation the said diploma will not be in accordance with the requisite educational qualification
prescribed in the said advertisement.

As the petitioners’ qualification of diploma in computer applications is not accredited by AICTE they cannot be held to be eligible as per the advertisement published for recruitment. The Commission misread and misinterpreted the expression and meaning of the term accreditation and erroneously forwarded the names of the petitioners for the post of clerk even though they did not possess the requisite educational qualification. Forwarding of names under mistaken understanding did not create any legally enforceable right in favour of the petitioners. The bank rightly did not issue the
appointment letter in favour of the petitioners.

Accordingly no relief can be granted in favour of the petitioners in the instant case.
W.P No. 144 [W] of 2019 stands dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. Urgent certified photocopy of this judgment, if applied for, be supplied to the parties on compliance of usual legal formalities.

(Amrita Sinha, J.)