Decided on January 31,1967



- (1.) The question is whether the equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State guaranteed by Art.16 (1) of the Constitution of India, has been denied to the petitioner, and whether the provision in Art.16 (2) that there shall be no discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them in respect of any employment or office under the State, has been violated.
(2.) The State Government by letter No. 42818/C3/63-2 Home dated 8 11 1963 requested the Public Service Commission to advise 24 candidates from the Bar for appointment as Munsiffs in the scale of Rs. 300-700 in the Judicial Service of the Kerala State. A Notification No. R11 (20) 10612/63 dated 28th November, 1963 (Ext. P1) was then issued by the Public Service Commission and published in the Kerala Gazette dated 3rd December, 1963 inviting applications from qualified candidates for direct recruitment from the Bar as Munsiffs in the Judicial Service of the Kerala State on the above scale of pay. Qualifications were stated and the conditions that should be satisfied, enumerated in the notification. Para.5 thereof notified that a written examination will be held to test the proficiency and that such of the candidates that "stand a reasonable chance of being considered for selection" will be called for interview. In Para.12 of the notification it is mentioned that in advising candidates for appointment, 'the rule of rotation' prescribed in R.14 to 17 of the General Rules under Part II of the Kerala State and Subordinate Services R.1958, as attended, will be observed.
(3.) The petitioner who was duly qualified and who satisfied the conditions prescribed, applied, sat for the examination and was called for the interview. Thereafter a list of the candidates arranged in the order of priority containing 195 names was published in the Gazette dated 22nd September, 1964. The rank of the petitioner was 24 and that of respondents 3 to 12 ranged between 26 and 72. The Public Service Commission selected and advised the names of 31 persons out of the 195, by applying the principles of rotation in R.14 to 17 of the General Rules under Part II of the Kerala State and Subordinate Services Rules, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as the 'General Rules') for appointment as Munsiffs. This was accepted by the State Government and an order G. O. MS. 387/64/Home dated 29th August, 1964 was passed and published in the Gazette dated 15th September, 1964. That order is in these terms: "In exercise of the powers conferred by Art.234 of the Constitution of India, the Governor of Kerala is pleased to appoint the persons mentioned in the list appended to this order, directly recruited from the Bar, as Munsiffs on Rs. 300-700 in the Kerala Judicial Service." The list contained the names of 31 persons and included those of respondents 3 to 12. The petitioner was not one of those 31. According to the petitioner he has been discriminated against and respondents 3 to 12 who admittedly held ranks below him have been selected solely on the ground of religion or caste.;

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