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The Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea seeking to declare the Right to Access to Equal Opportunity to enter the Workforce as a facet of the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Notice was issued to the Centre and the Delhi Government by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Brijesh Sethi in a plea by one Ateet Bansal.
The petitioner claims that he chose to apply for government jobs, but found that one has to “shell out huge amount of money” while applying for one.
In his petition filed through advocate Charu Mathur, Bansal has thus assailed the “exorbitant fees” charged by various public authorities and agencies for conducting recruitment examinations for public posts as well as the entrance examination for courses like engineering, law, medicine etc.
The petitioner has submitted that recruitment process is been reduced to a “money-making business” where “monumental money” is collected while the advertised posts remain vacant for many years or vanish without any intimation.
“..the Petitioner himself like thousands of others have faced the situation where the public sector advertise for jobs, takes fees but no recruitment takes place for years. That while applying for various jobs, he found that various public authorities like Railways, Air India, Rajya Sabha, NABARD etc charge high application fee. There could be many other Government Agencies in the list. He also found that though recruitments are advertised and application fee is paid yet vacancies are not filled even after 2-3 years of advertisement. Even no examination/interview are conducted.”
It is argued that this practice is contrary to the spirit of Article 14, 21 and 41 of the Constitution. The petitioner “strongly feels” that the practice further widens the inequality gap amongst the masses.
“..an unemployed person is expected to shell out Rs 20-30 thousand or more for merely applying for various jobs…a student is forced to shell out money for accessing higher education. This is against the basic tenants of our Constitution. It recalls the days of Primitive India where taking education was the crime.”
It has further been contended that charging such exorbitant fees violates one’s right to live with dignity by placing barriers for various entrance and recruitment examinations.
Thus, the petitioner has called for the right to access to equal opportunity to work to be brought under Article 21.
Apart from seeking action against officers responsible for the practice, the petition also seeks a direction to the Centre to make the “National Career Service” portal proper, functional, and comprehensive for advertising all central government and state government recruitments.
The petitioner also seeks to exempt the application form fee for entrance and recruitment from the ambit of GST.