Pune: The case of a Yerawada-based resident, who had applied for deputy director of health services in Public Health Laboratories via Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exams has come up for hearing. His application was rejected even before the exams were conducted. The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT), Mumbai bench, passed an order against MPSC and four others. The MAT issued strictures against MPSC stating that it has failed in its constitutional duty to act in a fair and objective manner.
Rajendra Kshirsagar who worked as as chief chemist moved a plaint through his lawyer K R Jagdale against the MPSC chairman, who had conducted the examination. In his plaint he also named Manish Lale, assistant director of Forensic Science Laboratory (Kalina), Shashikant Pardeshi, senior chemical assistant with district public health laboratory, Ravindra Shinde, chemical assistant of state public health laboratory who too were shortlisted for the post. Besides, additional chief secretary of public health department in Mumbai too has been named as a party in the case.
According to the prosecution , "Kshirsagar had applied for the post of deputy director of health services (public health laboratories) as per the advertisement put out by MPSC on June 2, 2008, in the open category. Kshirsagar claimed that he was qualified for the post. Later, MPSC published a list of aspiring candidates, who were eligible and were called for an interview. Accordingly, Lale, Pardeshi and Shinde were found eligible. Kshirsagar was rejected on the basis of short listing criterion adopted by MPSC."
Kshirsagar's lawyer Jagdale point out that as per the MPSC for the post of Depty Director of Health Services in Public Health Laboratories there were five criteria one of which was that the applicant must possess a Bachelor degree in Science with first class, possess post graduate degree in biochemistry, Inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, chemistry of foods, drugs and water of food technology and must have 15 years experiences in analysis of food, knowledge of food standards and their composition, water and effluent analysis and problems connected with environmental pollution."
Presenting officer AJ Chougule and lawyer JN Kamble argued on behalf of MPSC. They said, "MPSC is a constitutional body and has made rules to regulate its functioning and as per the criterion of the post Kshirsagar was not found eligible for post. Three candidates were found eligible and Shinde was found most meritorious and was selected. Shinde had the highest educational qualification as he had submitted his PhD thesis."
The tribunal vice-chairman Rajiv Agarwal and member RB Malik further observed, "The shortlisting criteria was quite reasonable. Higher marks in a course cannot be called higher qualification, therefore putting a first class degree in science and treating it as equivalent with PhD degree can never be a valid criterion. It is illogical and arbitrary and is not in accordance with the advertisement issued along with the application form. We find that by fixing the criterion, the MPSC has failed in its constitutional duty to act in a fair and objective manner. The selection on the basis of such arbitrary criterion cannot be upheld. The selection process conducted by MPSC appointment for the post of deputy director of health services (public health laboratories) is held to be illegal and bad in law and the selection of Shinde to the post must be quashed and the examination must be rescheduled."