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The petitioners alleged that despite having the requisite qualification for the post of LDC in the state electricity board, they were denied appointment solely on the ground of gender.
The Rajasthan High Court recently held that there cannot be any discrimination solely on the ground of gender.
Court was dealing with two pleas filed by two men who had been appointed in the Rajasthan State Electricity Board (RSEB) on compassionate grounds but due to a higher number of male candidates than female, they were denied appointment on the post of Lower Division Clerk (LDC) solely on the base of gender.
The petitioners told the court that they had the requisite qualification (i.e. Secondary School Examination pass) for getting an appointment on the post of Lower Division Clerk (LDC), however, they had been denied the appointment on the post of LDC on the basis of an order dated October 17, 1996, issued by the RSEB.
Therefore, before the writ court, the petitioners challenged the validity of the order dated October 17, 1996, issued by the RSEB.
The counsel for the petitioners submitted before the high court that the reason for the discrimination was a large number of male candidates in comparison to female candidates, the counsel for the petitioners argued that no discrimination could be done on the basis of sex, and such action of the respondent had violated the fundamental rights of the petitioners as given under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
However, the pleas were opposed by the counsel for the respondent authorities who argued that the petitions had become infructuous because the appointment had already been given to the petitioners on the post of LDC during the pendency of these petitions.
At the outset, the single judge bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand observed that under the Rajasthan State Electricity Board Ministerial Staff Regulations, 1962, there is no provision for discrimination between male and female candidates.
Further, court added that the equality before law guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitution of India is a constitutional admonition against both the legislative and executive organs of the State.
"Therefore, neither the legislature nor the Rule making Authority can make a law or a Rule, issue any guidelines/circulars/administrative instructions, which would be in violation of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India," said the court.
Court held that in the matter at hand, the issue of discrimination did not pertain to statute, but a guideline in the form of a policy.
"If statutes are held to be violative of the tenets of Article 14 of the Constitution of India by the Constitutional Courts for the reason that it depicts discrimination resulting in gender bias, a guideline in the form of policy would pale into insignificance, if it portrays such discrimination, even to its remotest sense," said the court.
Therefore, while observing that in the present matter, exclusion of male candidates for getting compassionate appointment on the post of LDC was based solely on gender discrimination, court quashed the order dated August 25, 1996.
While allowing the petitions, court directed the respondents to count the services of petitioners on the post of LDC with effect from their initial appointment on the post of Helper Gr.I and grant them all consequential benefits.
Case Title: Ashish Arora v. Rajasthan State Electricity Board and connected matter
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