‘General Category Employment in Govt Services open to all Classes’, rules Supreme Court, says only condition for candidate is ‘Merit’

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The Supreme Court has said the general category vacancies in public employment is open to all including aspirants belonging to reserved categories like other backward classes (OBCs) and Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

 A bench comprising of Justice U U Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice Hrishikesh Roy said that disallowing meritorious candidates of reserved categories to migrate and get selected under general category would amount to “communal reservation”.

“The principle that candidates belonging to any of the vertical reservation categories are entitled to be selected in “Open or General Category” is well settled. It is also well accepted that if such candidates belonging to reserved categories are entitled to be selected on the basis of their own merit, their selection cannot be counted against the quota reserved for the categories for vertical reservation that they belong,” Justice Lalit, who wrote for himself and Justice Roy, said.

Justice Bhat, who wrote a separate concurring judgement, said, “The open category is not a ‘quota’, but is rather available to all women and men alike.”

He said, “the open category is open to all, and the only condition for a candidate to be shown in it is merit, regardless of whether reservation benefit of either type is available to her or him.”

The judgement came on petitions including the one filed by two candidates, belonging from OBC-female and SC-female categories respectively who had taken part in the exam in 2013 meant for selection of constables in Uttar Pradesh. 

It was alleged by one Sonam Tomar, a candidate from the OBC-female category, that she secured more marks then the general category woman who got the employment.

The court, in its judgement, said,“All candidates coming from ‘OBC Female Category’ who had secured more marks than 274.8928, i.e. the marks secured by the last candidate appointed in ‘General Category–Female’ must be offered employment as Constables in Uttar Pradesh Police.”

It said the logical consequence would have been to “annul” the selection and direct authorities to do the exercise “de novo” (afresh) in the light of conclusions arrived at.

“However, considering the facts that those selected candidates have actually undergone training and are presently in employment and that there are adequate number of vacancies available, we mould the relief,” the bench said.

It directed the state government to issue letters to all those OBC female category candidates who secured more marks than selected general category female candidates. 

“Appropriate letters in that behalf shall be sent to the concerned candidates within four weeks,” it said, adding, “If the concerned candidates exercise their option and accept the offer of employment, communications in that behalf shall be sent by the concerned candidates within two weeks.”

The Scheduled Caste candidate could not get the same relief she did not get equal or more marks then the selected general category female candidates.  

In 2013, the selection process was undertaken to fill up 41,610 posts of Police Constables.

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