P A CHANDRAN Vs. BOARD OF REVENUE EXCISE
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KERALA)
P. A. CHANDRAN
BOARD OF REVENUE (EXCISE)
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(1.)In these appeals, writ petitions and special leave petitions, in which we grant leave, the point for determination is whether the prescription of ratio of 1:1 for promotion to the post of Excise Preventive Officer from Excise Guard as between those who possess the qualification of S. S. L. C. (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) and those who do not possess this qualification, is constitutionally infirm. The Kerala High court having held so and the State of Kerala having accepted the judgment and having issued certain government Orders pursuant thereto, these appeals/writ petitions have been filed under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.
(2.)As to when educational qualification can form the basis of classification in the matter like one at hand was examined recently in detail by two of us (Kuldip Singh and Hansaria, JJ. ) in Writ Petition (C) No. 3736 of 1982 and connected matters (T. R. Kothandaraman v. T. N. Water Supply and Drainage Board) , judgment in which was rendered on 13/9/1994. The bench laid down following legal propositions in this regard, after noting earlier important decisions on this point, in para 16 of the judgment:
"(1 Higher educational qualification is a permissible basis of classification, acceptability of which will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.
(2 Higher educational qualification can be the basis not only for barring promotion, but also for restricting the scope of promotion.
(3 Restriction placed cannot however go to the extent of seriously the chances of promotion. To decide this, the extent of restriction shall have also to be looked into to ascertain whether it is reasonable. Reasons for this are being indicated later. "
(3.)In the aforesaid judgment, ratio of even 1 : 3 was upheld on the fact- situation of some cases. Here the ratio being 1 : 1, the same has to be regarded as reasonable. The learned counsel appearing for non-S. S. L. C. Excise Guards, however, contend, in support of the impugned judgment, that this court having held in N. Abdul Basheer v. K. K. Karunakaran, that providing of ratio of 1:3 for graduates and non-graduates for promotion from the posts of Excise Preventive Officers to Second Grade Excise Inspectors is discriminatory, the same has to be held regarding the ratio at hand.
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