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Madras HC upholds TN government insistence on scoring minimum marks in Tamil language paper for state government jobs

- May 31, 2024

Chennai, May 31 (BPNS)

The Madras High court upheld the order of Tamil Nadu government that scoring a minimum of 40 out of 150 marks in Tamil language proficiency paper was a precondition to evaluate general studies paper.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan of the Madras High Court on Friday dismissed writ petitions filed by 10 English medium aspirants to Group IV service in Tamil Nadu Combined Civil services.

The petitioners had challenged a Government Order (GO) issued on December 1, 2021 and also a consequential notification issued by the Tamil Nadu Public Services Commission (TNPSC) on January 30, 2024 for filling up 6,244 vacancies.

Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, P.S. Raman had argued that the GO as well as the TNPSC notification were fully in consonance with Section 21-A of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants (Conditions of Service) Act of 2016 and therefore they could not be found at fault with.

Justice Swaminathan agreed with the argument of the Advocate General and also took note that Section 21-A was introduced in 2021 and many recruitments had taken place since then.

He said, “As rightly pointed out by the learned Advocate General, government servants holding Group IV posts will have to have direct interaction with the people… They should be able to fluently converse and write in Tamil. This is a sine qua non for efficient discharge of their functions and duties. This can be found out only by making them write the eligibility paper in Tamil.”

Senior counsel S. Nalini Chidambaram appearing for the petitioners had argued that the marks scored in general studies paper alone be taken into consideration for recruitment because otherwise candidates proficient in the local language would score full 150 marks in the Tamil paper and get recruited comfortably even if they hardly score anything in general studies.

Justice Swaminathan refused to accept her argument that the marks scored in the Tamil paper should be taken into consideration only for the limited purpose of finding out whether the candidates could score a minimum of 40% when it comes to local language proficiency and that those marks in the language paper should otherwise be completely ignored while drawing the merit list.

“If the contention of the learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioners is accepted, the candidate who secures 150 marks in Part A (Tamil paper) and the one who secures 60 marks in the same paper will have to be put on the same footing… The petitioners want this court to hold that selection should be based only on the performance in Part B. This contention is without any merit,”

The court dismissed the petition stating that in matters concerning recruitment, the employer can prescribe the qualifications and unless it is illegal or without jurisdiction, the court ought not to interfere.