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Candidates selected against Open category with less merit than the other candidates is against PoE


Candidates getting selected against Open/General category with less merit than the other available candidates will certainly be opposed to principles of equality.

Saurav Yadav & Ors. v. State Of Uttar Pradesh & Ors.

Miscellaneous Application No.2641 Of 2019 In S.L.P (Civil) No.23223 Of 2018 with W.P. (C) No.237 Of 2020

18th December, 2020.

Counsel for Appellants: Ms. Vibha Datta Makhija and Mr. Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

Counsel for Respondents: Mr. Vinod Diwakar.


The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India Justices Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Hrishikesh Roy in an appeal against the High Court judgment rejecting the stand taken on behalf of the State held that the Division Bench and the High Court has erred in the impugned judgment.


This appeal is by the participants of the Selection Process initiated for filling up posts of Constables in U.P. Police who had applied in the categories of OBC-Female and SC-Female. It is submitted that their claim has been rejected by the State Government despite directions issued by this Court in its Order in Ashish Kumar Yadav and Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. and that candidates with lower marks have been selected in General Female category disregarding their claim. Aggrieved by the action on part of the State in not considering the claim of OBC female and SC female candidates against the posts meant for General Category female candidates, this Miscellaneous Application has been preferred.


The counsel for applicants submitted that the stand taken by the State is completely opposed to the principles laid down by this Court and that the conclusions drawn in the Orders of the High Court which are relied upon, were also incorrect.

The counsel for State submitted that the Order was recognised by this Court in its decision in Alok Kumar Singh and ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh and ors. (2019) 14 SCC 692 and the State being bound by the observations of the High Court, did not consider the claim of ‘OBC Female Category’ candidates against the posts meant for ‘General Female Category’.


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. The High Courts of Rajasthan, Bombay, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat have adopted the same principle while dealing with horizontal reservation whereas the High Court of Allahabad and Madhya Pradesh have taken a contrary view. The second view that weighed with the High Courts of Allahabad and Madhya Pradesh is essentially based on the premise that after the first two steps as detailed in Anil Kumar Gupta and Others and after vertical reservations are provided for, at the stage of accommodating candidates for effecting horizontal reservation, the candidates from reserved categories can be adjusted only against their own categories under the concerned vertical reservation and not against the “Open or General Category”.


After the initial allocation of Open General Category seats is completed, the claim or right of reserved category candidates to be admitted in Open General Category seats on the basis of their own merit stands exhausted and they can only be considered against their respective column of vertical reservation. Admittedly, the last selected candidates in Open General female category while making adjustment of horizontal reservation had secured lesser marks than the Applicants. The claim of the Applicants was disregarded on the ground that they could claim only and only if there was a vacancy or chance for them to be accommodated in their respective column of vertical reservation.

"The second view is thus neither based on any authoritative pronouncement by this Court nor does it lead to a situation where the merit is given precedence. Subject to any permissible reservations i.e. either Social (Vertical) or Special (Horizontal), opportunities to public employment and selection of candidates must purely be based on merit. Any selection which results in candidates getting selected against Open/General category with less merit than the other available candidates will certainly be opposed to principles of equality. There can be special dispensation when it comes to candidates being considered against seats or quota meant for reserved categories and in theory it is possible that a more meritorious candidate coming from Open/General category may not get selected. But the converse can never be true and will be opposed to the very basic principles which have all the while been accepted by this Court. Any view or process of interpretation which will lead to incongruity as highlighted earlier, must be rejected." (Para 31)


The second view will thus not only lead to irrational results where more meritorious candidates may possibly get sidelined as indicated above but will, of necessity, result in acceptance of a postulate that Open / General seats are reserved for candidates other than those coming from vertical reservation categories. Such view will be completely opposed to the long line of decisions of this Court. The first view which weighed with the High Courts of Rajasthan, Bombay, Uttarakhand and Gujarat is correct and rational. The Single Judge and the Division Bench of the High Court completely erred in rejecting the stand taken on behalf of the State.


The court hence observed that 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. Since it had been accepted that none of the candidates coming from ‘SC Female Category’ had secured more marks than 274.8298, the claims of the Applicant no.2 and all similarly situated candidates were rejected. Hence, the miscellaneous appeal stands allowed to an extent and the Writ petition stands dismissed.



M. Maheswari

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