Chandigarh, November 20
A six-year-old matter involving English language proficiency of two candidates vying for the Public Relations Officer’s (PRO) post at Central University of Haryana, Mahendragarh, has come up for examination again before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Aman Chaudhary is set to examine whether the appointed candidate must be fluent in both spoken English and Hindi, aligning with the eligibility criteria.
The Bench made it clear that the short question for consideration in the appeal was whether the appointed candidate was required to be fluent in English and Hindi. It also took note of appellant Ajay Kumar’s grievance that the selected candidate had “no command” over English as previously observed by the court.
The issue has its genesis in a viva-voce exam held in February 2017 just like any other; an examiner throwing queries to the candidates to gauge their language skills; and then waiting for the results. Only this time, the evaluator was an HC judge and the courtroom was the exam hall. The candidates were petitioner Ajay Kumar and respondent-candidate. The judge, at that time, made a “mental note”.
Describing the “mental note” subsequently on Ajay Kumar’s plea, Justice Rajiv Narain Raina asserted: “I asked them a few questions on their educational backgrounds and I am sorry to say that the respondent-appointed candidate could not even speak correct grammatical English, leave alone have an excellent command over the language.
“He could not even put two or three sentences together in fluent English of the standards demanded by the criterion; if he did speak hesitatingly it was in broken language with faulty tenses trying to speak about his educational background…. On the other hand, the petitioner, Ajay Kumar, spoke English well and was far more lettered and better educated than his opponent to my mind and experience of the foreign language”.
The matter was placed before the Division Bench after Ajay Kumar filed an appeal against an unfavourable order by a Single Judge. After hearing senior counsel Chetan Mittal with advocates Udit Garg, Sehaj Sandhawalia and Ritvik Garg for the appellant, the Bench also issued notice of motion to Central University and other respondents before fixing the appeal for further hearing on February 15 next year.
Mittal contended that excellent command over spoken English and Hindi was a prerequisite. But the university conceded in its written statement a change in the criterion. It stated, among other things, that “the print media and newspaper in Mahendergarh district and adjoining areas mainly belong to the Hindi media”.
The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Aman Chaudhary is set to examine whether the candidate to the post of the PRO at Mahendragarh Central University of Haryana must be fluent in both spoken English and Hindi, aligning with the eligibility criteria.
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