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Sant Lal and ors. Vs. the State of Haryana and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService;Food Adulteration
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ No. 604 of 1974
Judge
Reported inAIR1976P& H67
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 - Sections 9 and 23(1); Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 - Rule 8
AppellantSant Lal and ors.
RespondentThe State of Haryana and ors.
Appellant Advocate Kuldip Singh and; R.S. Mongia, Advs.
Respondent Advocate J.L. Gupta,; A.K. Arora, Advs. and; H.N. Mehtani, Dy
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....were deprived of the power of prescribing higher qualifications for appointment of a person as food inspector and that by amending the rule, the intention of the framers was to limit the appointment as food inspectors only to those persons who fulfil the minimum qualifications laid down in rule 8. 10. there is no gainsaying that the job of food inspectors is of considerable importance and they have to perform duties which require efficiency, higher intelligence and integrity specially in the present times when adulteration is rampant and to check it effectively persons of higher qualifications are required. it is the prerogative of the state government to appoint a person as food inspector whom it considers fit under section 9 of the act and, for that purpose, the state government..........the state of haryana. it is alleged that the haryana government advertised one post of government food inspector in the health department in the pay scale of rs. 140-350 and, according to the advertisement (annexure 'a' to the petition), only those sanitary inspectors who were graduates, had experience of one year and had received at least three months' training in food inspection and sampling work in any of the laboratories mentioned under the prevention of food adulteration act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as the act), were eligible for appointment to the post of food inspector. the petitioners, who are working as sanitary inspector, are not graduates and in view of the advertisement were not eligible to apply for the post of food inspector.3. it is further averred that the post of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Prem Chand Jain, J.

1. The facts, as given in the petition, may briefly be stated thus:

2. The petitioners, who have more than one year's experience as qualified Sanitary Inspectors and have received more than three months' training in Food Inspection and Sampling Work in the recognised laboratories, are working as Sanitary Inspectors and are posted as such at different places in the State of Haryana. It is alleged that the Haryana Government advertised one post of Government Food Inspector in the Health Department in the pay scale of Rs. 140-350 and, according to the advertisement (annexure 'A' to the petition), only those Sanitary Inspectors who were graduates, had experience of one year and had received at least three months' training in Food Inspection and Sampling Work in any of the laboratories mentioned under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), were eligible for appointment to the post of Food Inspector. The petitioners, who are working as Sanitary Inspector, are not graduates and in view of the advertisement were not eligible to apply for the post of Food Inspector.

3. It is further averred that the post of Food Inspector is a statutory post and is governed by the provisions of the Act and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules. 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the Rules), that under the provisions of the Act and the Rules the petitioners fulfilled the qualifications for being considered for appointment to the post of Food Inspector and that the State of Haryana had no authority in law to change or alter the qualifications for the post of Food Inspector by way of executive instructions. From the allegations in the petition it transpires that on the basis of the aforesaid advertisement respondents Nos. 4 to 7 were selected for appointment as Food Inspectors with the result that the present petition has been filed by the petitioners under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of a writ in the nature of certiorari quashing the advertisement, dated 7th February, 1973, and the selection of respondents Nos. 4 to 7, made in response to the said advertisement.

4. Written statements have been filed separately on behalf of respondents Nos. 1 and 2 and respondents Nos. 4 to 7 in which the issuance of the advertisement and the selection made thereafter have been justified.

5. Mr. Kuldip Singh, learned counsel for the petitioners raised the following two contentions:--

(i) That qualifications for appointment as a Food Inspector have been prescribed under Rule 8 of the Rules and those qualifications cannot be changed by any executive order, and

(ii) That under Section 23(1)(e) of the Act, power to prescribe qualifications vests with the Central Government and the State Government has no power to prescribe any other qualification.

6. On the other hand it was contended by Mr. J. L. Gupta, whose submissions were adopted by Mr. H. N. Mehtani, learned Dy. Advocate-General. Haryana, that the State Government had power to prescribe higher qualifications, that Rule 8 in no way took away that power of the State Government and that the advertisement published and the selection made in response thereto was justified and in accordance with law.

7. After giving my thoughtful consideration to the entire matter. I am of the view that there is considerable force in the contentions of the learned counsel for the respondents. Rule 8, which prescribes the qualification for appointment as Food Inspector, is in the following terms:--

'Qualifications of Food Inspector --A person shall not be qualified for appointment as food inspector, unless he-

(i) is a medical officer in charge of the health administration of a local area: or

(ii) is a Graduate or a Licentiate in Medicines, and has received at least one month's training in food inspection and sampling work approved for the purpose by the Central or the State Government;

(iii) is a qualified Sanitary Inspector having an experience as such for a minimum period of one year and has received at least three months' training in food inspection and sampling work in any of the laboratories referred to in Clause (i) of Rule 6; or

(iv) is a Graduate in Science with Chemistry as one of the subjects or a graduate in Agriculture. Food Technology or Dairy Technology, and has received at least three months' training in food inspection and sampling work in any of the laboratories referred to in Clause (i) of Rule 6:

Provided that a person who is a Food Inspector on the date of commencement of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Amendment) Rules. 1968, may continue to hold office as such subject to the terms and conditions of service applicable to him. even though he does not fulfil the qualifications laid down in Clauses (i) to (iv).'

8. The power to appoint Food Inspectors is given under Section 9 of the Act. which is to the following effect:--

'Food Inspectors. (1) The Central Government or the State Government may by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint such persons as it thinks fit. having the prescribed qualifications to be food inspectors for such local areas as may be assigned to them by the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be:

Provided that no person who has any financial interest in the manufacture, import or sale of any article of food shall be appointed to be a food inspector under this section.

(2) Every food inspector shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) and shall be officially subordinate to such authority as the Goveminent appointing him, may specify in this behalf.' .

9. On the respective contentions of the learned counsel for the parties, the question that arises for consideration is whether those persons alone, who fulfil the qualifications given in rule 8, are entitled as a matter of right, to be considered for appointment as Food Inspectors and the State Government is debarred from recruiting any other person who possesses the qualifications prescribed under Rule 8 and also some higher qualifications, without giving opportunity of consideration to those persons who are eligible under rule 8. After considering all the aspects of the matter. I am of the opinion that the answer to the question has to be in the negative. In my view the object of Rule 8, which was substituted by the amendment made through the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Amendment) Rules, 1968, was to ensure that no lower standard was adopted by the States as previously, according to Clause (iii) of the old Rules, it wias within the power of the State Government to prescribe any qualifications in cases of Sanitary Inspectors or Health Inspectors for appointment as Food Inspectors. This power was regulated by the amended Rules laying certain minimum qualifications, but by no stretch of reasoning the amended Rules could ever have been meant to pin down the States to appoint a person as Food Inspector who Possesses only the prescribed qualifications and not to appoint any other person who. in addition to the prescribed qualifications, also possesses higher qualifications. I do not agree with Mr. Kuldip Singh that the amendment is a clear pointer to show that the State Governments were deprived of the power of prescribing higher qualifications for appointment of a person as Food Inspector and that by amending the rule, the intention of the framers was to limit the appointment as Food Inspectors only to those persons who fulfil the minimum qualifications laid down in Rule 8.

10. There is no gainsaying that the job of Food Inspectors is of considerable importance and they have to perform duties which require efficiency, higher intelligence and integrity specially in the present times when adulteration is rampant and to check it effectively persons of higher qualifications are required. For the State Government to have recourse to recruitment of such persons, is in no way unreasonable nor could it ever be the intention of the framers of the Rules that the State Governments would not be entitled to appoint persons possessing higher qualifications than the ones prescribed under Rule 8. as Food Inspectors. During the course of arguments it was conceded by Mr. Kuldip Singh that while issuing the advertisement in question, the State Government could say that persons possessing higher qualifications than those prescribed would be given preference. If that be so. then I cannot understand why it would be necessary (as argued by Mr. Kuldip Singh) to invite applications from those persons also who do not possess such higher qualifications and would it not be futile to do so. It is the prerogative of the State Government to appoint a person as Food Inspector whom it considers fit under Section 9 of the Act and, for that purpose, the State Government can certainly prescribe higher qualifications in order to get the best talent to man its services. But this power has to be exercised with one limitation and that is that the persons, who are to be appointed as Food Inspectors, must possess the minimum qualifications as given in Rule 8. The State Government by prescribing higher qualifications is neither changing the rule nor exercising jurisdiction which, under Section 23(1)(e) of the Act. vests solely in the Central Government. The petitioners have no legal right to claim that they must be considered for appointment to the post of Food Inspector as they possess the qualifications prescribed under Rule 8 along with the persons who possess higher qualifications and who have been asked to apply. The impugned advertisement has been issued rightly by the State Government and the same does not suffer from any legal infirmity.

11. In the view I have taken, it is not necessary to deal with the other contentions of Mr. J. L. Gupta on which he sought to support the impugned advertisement.

12. For the reasons recorded above, this petition fails and is dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 100/-.


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