Srinagar, Sep 12: The J&K Public Service Commission (J&K PSC) has been instructed by the High Court of J&K and Ladakh to propose seven female “meritorious” applicants to the government for employment as range officers in the forest department, despite their shorter height than the required for the positions.
A division bench of Justice Rajnesh Oswal and Justice Rahul Bharti stated in their decision that “Mount Everest, standing at the height of 29030 ft., with a claim to being the highest point on Earth, succumbed to ascent by 6 ft. tall Sir Edmund Hillary in May, 1953, and 5 ft. tall Junko Ishibashi in May, 1975, making them the first man and woman to be at the peak of the Mt.
The court ruled that just as Hillary’s tall height wasn’t an advantage, Ishibashi’s modest height wasn’t a barrier to climbing Everest.
“However, given to the then Govt of Jammu & Kashmir and also for the Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission, seven (7) female candidates, found to be short in height by two or three inches but otherwise found to be meritorious to be in final select list, are not to be reckoned height fit to be Range Officer Grade-I in the J&K Forest (Gazetted) Service.”
The case has thus situation put before the court for decision-making at the request and challenge of seven female candidates, according to the court.
“A relevance serving opening to this judgement is catching the contour of the case at the outset, which is as to whether a prescribed physical standard, in terms of height and chest measurement, can be agender without bearing any distinction between two sexes, i.e. male and female; and whether on that basis seven (7) female candidates, who competed among 567 contestants to come out fully qualified on the basis of the
The court ruled in favour of the seven candidates’ claims, saying that the JKPSC, a constitutional organisation, should not have subjected these applicants to a discriminatory, unjust, irrational, or incomprehensible height restriction.
The court further stated that the JKPSC should have left it to the J&K government to exercise its rule-easing power and address its discernment and discretion in favour of seven candidates, appointing them as Range Officers-Grade, “who at the end of the day are the merit makers making the Jammu & Kashmir Forest Gazetted Service to get for the very first time in its history induction of 8 women officers borne out of single selection process.”
The JKPSC should take into consideration suggesting the names of the seven applicants to the government of J&K for appointment in the first instance based on their merit-based and proven claims, the court said.
Additionally, it instructed the J&K Government to consider accepting the JKPSC recommendation with regard to the seven candidates and appointing them as Range Officers-Grade I by relaxing the height requirement in their favour in recognition of their meritorious position in the selection process. This is in accordance with rule 4 of the J&K Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1956.