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`Age cannot be criteria to shortlist govt job seekers`

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 - 21:14

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has said age
cannot be a criteria for shortlisting candidates appearing for
government jobs and quashed the decision of MCD which had
shortlisted applicants for teaching job on this basis.

A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and A K Pathak
held that the decision of MCD to shortlist candidates on the
basis of age was unconstitutional and violative of fundamental
rights of others who were not shortlisted.

"State may fix short-listing criteria on the basis of
educational qualifications or experience or marks obtained in
an examination or an interview or any other criterion which
enables the most competent person to be selected.
Unfortunately, age has nothing to do either with merit or
competence. Wisdom may be an attribute of age, but not merit
or competence," the court said.

In this case the municipal body had sought applications
for teaching jobs in its school for OBC candidates in the
18-30 age group. But after getting several applications, it
shortlisted candidates on the basis of age and applicants in
the 28-30 age bracket were called.

Taking strong exception to the decision, the High Court
said there was no logical basis of shortlisting applicants.

"It seems to us that the MCD has literally picked the age
group of 28 to 30 years out of the hat without any reference
to any logical or empirical basis," the court said.

"Insofar as the present case is concerned, selecting only
those candidates who fall within the age group of 28 to 30
years would necessarily mean that persons with better
educational qualifications, experience and knowledge might not
be appointed only because of their age and for no other
reason," the court said.

The MCD had contended that short-listing criteria was
adopted because of large number of applicants and to provide
employment to senior people as the younger ones could avail of
similar opportunities later in life.

The Court, however, was not satisfied with the explanation
and rejected its plea saying, "We are of the opinion that
neither of these reasons put forth by the MCD falls within the
acceptable limits of Article 14 (equality before law) of the

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 - 21:14
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