Jai Shankar Prasad v. State of Bihar
19 March 1993
Supreme Court of India
1993 AIR 1906, 1993 SCR (2) 517
P B Sawant, N. Venkatachala
- The appellant, in this case, is a member of the bar.
- The respondents are the Chairman of the Commission, State Government, Member of the Commission and others.
- Respondent no. 6, Dr Shiva Jatan Thakur is a member of the Bihar State Public Service Commission.
- He has been blind since the age of eight years. Further, he has been recommended by the government of Bihar for “Padmashree” due to his excellent services in the commission and is also awarded with National Award by the President of India.
- The appellant who is a member of the bar filed a writ petition in the High Court of Patna challenging his appointment on two grounds.
- Firstly, under Article 316(1) of the Constitution, the proportion of service and non-service members should be 50%. Respondent no.6 is the 7th non-service member amongst 4 service members.
- Secondly, the respondent cannot be under Article 317 (3) (c) contending that his blindness is infirmity of body and he will not be able to do all duties of the commission efficiently.
- The high court dismissed the writ petition and aggrieved by that decision appellants filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.
Issues before the court:
- Are the provisions of the Article 316, about the proportion of service and non-service members are rigid and mandatory to follow?
- Does Article 317, which includes removal of the member due to the infirmity of body, include blindness?
Issue Answered and the Ratio:
- Although the court rejected the respondent’s argument of article 316, it held that article 316 is not a mandatory provision, but directory. It would be unrealistic and unnecessary to assume that the proportion to be maintained at all times.
- The court held that article 317 does not include every infirmity of body and blindness in itself is not an infirmity. The duties of appointment include assessing the external appearance of the candidates but very few marks are reserved for that and respondent can take help of his committee members.
- The respondent has done the commendable job during his tenure as a member of the commission and by above two grounds, he cannot be removed from the commission.
The court dismissed the leave petition and the respondent member was not prevented from being a member of the commission.
Aishwarya Agrawal is a 3rd year student, pursuing B.A. LL.B. at Hidayatullah National Law Universiry, Raipur, Chhattisgarh.