HC directs KPSC and govt. to redo selection list for post of drug inspector

Observing that the State government has no power under the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act, 1940, to prescribe additional qualification for selecting candidates to the posts of drug inspector, the High Court of Karnataka has directed the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) to redo the selection list for the post by omitting the additional qualification.

“Imposing the qualification of experience in addition to the qualification prescribed in the Act is unconstitutional as it is contrary to the Section 33N of the D&C Act and the Rule 49 of the D&C Rules, 1945,” the court observed.

A Division Bench comprising Justice G. Narendar and Justice Shivashankar Amarannavar passed the order while partly allowing the petitions filed by Harsha N. and several other aspirants to the posts of drug inspector.

The applications for the post were invited in 2018 through the KPSC. However, the State government changed the eligibility criteria by prescribing the ‘experience of minimum 18 months in the manufacturing and or testing of Schedule C and/or C1 drugs’ during the midst of selection when the process of verification and interviewing some of the candidates were already completed.

No power to prescribe

Apart from contending that the State government had no power to prescribe additional qualification other than the one prescribed by the Central government through the D&C Act and the Rules, the petitioners had alleged that tweaking of qualification was done only to accommodate in-service candidates as 25 of the 58 candidates in the select list are all candidates serving in the department.

Agreeing to their contention, the Bench said the provisions of the D&C Act leaves no doubt in the mind of the court that the field of legislation is occupied by the central legislation and that the State stands denuded of any authority to legislate with regard to the same, and hence prescribing additional qualification in the form of experience is contrary to the provisions of the Act.

“It is seen that after the process of verification and interview had commenced, the government have deemed it necessary to alter the method of evaluation, and invitation to officers of the Central government to evaluate the testimonials is nothing but a mere ruse to cover up their tracks for altering the rules of the game, after the game has begun,” the Bench observed.


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