SANJANA SHARMA Vs. STATE OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
LAWS(J&K)-2020-3-16
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Decided on March 10,2020

Sanjana Sharma Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR Respondents




JUDGEMENT

Sanjeev Kumar,j. - (1.)The petitioners are M.D.in Paediatrics and were engaged on the tenure post of Registrars in Govt. Medical College, Jammu for a period of three years vide Office Order No.915 of 2015 dated 11.09.2015. While the petitioners were undergoing their Registrarship, they applied for and were granted 180 days maternity leave vide office Order No.2127 of 2017 dated 03.07.2017 and Order No.2096 of 2017 dated 13.06.2017 respectively passed by the respondent No.2. The maternity leave in the case of the petitioner No.1 commenced w.e.f. 13.05.2017 whereas in the case of the petitioner No.2, it commenced w.e.f. 26.05.2017. The petitioners, after availing maternity leave sanctioned in their favour, joined back their duties as Registrars in Govt. Medical College, Jammu. In the year 2018, the respondent No.4 vide Notification No.01-PSC (DR-P) of 2019 dated 17.01.2018 invited online applications on the prescribed format from the eligible permanent residents of State of Jammu and Kashmir for ten posts of Assistant Professors (Lecturers) in Paediatrics in various newly opened Govt. Medical Colleges of the State. The petitioners claiming to be possessed of the requisite qualification and experience of two years as Registrars on the cut- off date submitted their online applications. The respondent No.4, on scrutinization of the application forms, came up with a Notice dated 15.11.2018 and notified the names of 47 candidates, who as per the respondent No.4, were found provisionally eligible to participate in the selection process. The petitioners were put in the separate list prepared for ineligible candidates in which they were placed at S.Nos.5 and 3 respectively and they were notified as ineligible, for the reason 'Not possessing the requisite experience'. The respondent No.4, while relying upon the experience certificate issued by the respondent No.2, took out a period of 180 days maternity leave availed by the petitioners in the year 2017 from total teaching experience claimed by the petitioners. Both the petitioners were, thus, found short of requisite experience and were, thus, declared 'ineligible' for participating in the selection process. Since the period of 180 days availed by the petitioners as maternity leave was excluded by the respondent No.4 from the teaching experience of the petitioners, as such, the petitioners filed SWP 1838/2018 seeking inter alia a direction to the respondents to extend the period of their tenure posting as Registrars, Govt. Medical College, Jammu by 180 days so that the petitioners are in position to complete the required period of three years as teaching experience. The petition was disposed of vide judgment dated 14.09.2018 and the direction was issued by this Court to the respondents to take a decision on the request of the petitioners for extension of their deputation period by 180 days. The Court further provided that till the applications submitted by the petitioners were considered and decided, they would not be relieved from the post of Registrars. It is contended that, despite the stay granted by this Court on the relieving of the petitioners and before a decision on their applications was taken by a speaking order, the respondent No.2 vide Order No.548 of 2020 dated 24.02.2018 relieved the petitioners, purportedly, in compliance to the directions passed by this Court in SWP No. 2355/2015 and also on account of the fact that the petitioners had completed their three years tenure as Registrars in Govt. Medical College, Jammu. After relieving the petitioners from Govt. Medical College, Jammu, the respondent No.2 vide Order No.557 of 2018 dated 15.11.2018 decided the applications of the petitioners for extension of deputation period. The applications were rejected by the respondent No.2 on the ground that under the rules and various communications of the Government, no extension to the tenure post of Registrar can be granted on the ground of maternity leave.
(2.)The respondent No.4 has filed its objections and has contested the plea of the petitioners on the ground that in terms of the experience certificates issued by the competent authority, i.e., respondent No.2, the petitioners were found lacking the requisite teaching experience of two years and therefore, held ineligible to compete for the post of Assistant Professors. It is plea of the respondent No.4 that what is required by the rules is the 'actual' and not the 'notional experience' in teaching and a person, who is on leave, of whatever kind, cannot be said to have acquired any teaching experience during the period of such leave. With regard to the plea of the petitioners that they were entitled to extension of their tenure appointment by 180 days equivalent to the period availed by the petitioners as maternity leave, it is contended by the respondent No.4 that matter lies within the domain of other respondents and respondent No.4 being the selection body has nothing to do with it.
(3.)Other respondents have not filed their objections.
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