Question: Sir, recently the State Bank of India released notification for clerical posts. Till now for the age criteria the reference month is April, but this time without prior notice they’ve changed it to August. This will make many candidates who are born prior to August ineligible to apply. Is there any legal ground to file a case regarding this issue? Can I challenge the reduction of age criteria in bank examination?
Asked from: Kerala
You should file a writ petition before the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The change of age criteria will disentitled those candidates for appearing in examination who would have been otherwise entitled. The ground of their elimination is their cut off date instead of their ability and competence.
Moreover, there is no nexus between the objects sought and reduction of age by just four months. Those candidates have been automatically eliminated just because of their date of birth.
However, the age criteria has been April for the last five years. Hence, sudden change in age without giving a chance to those eliminating candidates is unjust and unfair.
In National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences v. Dr. K. Kalyana Raman AIR 1992 SC 1806, the Supreme Court has held that: The procedural fairness is the main requirement in the administrative action. The `fairness’ or `fair procedure’ in the administrative action ought to be observed. The Selection Committee cannot be an exception to this principle. It must take a decision reasonably without being guided by extraneous or irrelevant considerations.
The Bank will not get remarkable and super competent candidates for the post by just reducing the age by four months. But its decision shall keep those candidates out of the selection process because they are born between April and August.
The bank has disqualified those candidates without judging their ability. Not giving the chance to these candidates in previous examinations infers that the action of the Bank is unjust, unfair and arbitrary.
An arbitrary action is against the rule of equality hence, it violates the fundamental right enshrined in Article 14 of the constitution. In In Dr. Ami Lal Bhat v. State of Rajasthan : (AIR 1997 SC 2964) the Supreme Court has held that
Basically, the fixing of a cut-off date for determining the maximum or minimum age required for a post, is in the discretion of the rule-making authority or the employer as the case may be. One must accept that such a cut- off cannot be fixed with any mathematical precision and in such a manner as would avoid hardship in all conceivable cases.
Thus you should file a writ petition in the High Court. Your goulds would be:
- There is no relation between the object sought and reduction of cut off age by only four months.
- The reduction of age by the bank is arbitrary, unjust and unfair.
- It violates the fundamental right i.e. right to equality.
- Some candidates without any fault on their part became ineligible to appear in the process of appointment.
- Decision for reduction of age by only four months will not give extra edge to the bank in selection of suitable and deserving candidates.
- Decision is wholly mechanical and lacks intelligible reasoning.