11 May 2010

Meritorious Reserved Category candidate entitled to reservation: Constitutional Bench


In a recently delivered judgment a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court has declared the meritorious candidates belonging to reserved categories [MRC] are entitled to invoke the benefit of being from reserved categories in the Union Public Services Examination irrespective of the fact that they have qualified for employment on their own effort. The matter had been referred to a Constitutional Bench to decide the important question of law "as to whether candidates belonging to reserved category, who get recommended against general/unreserved vacancies on account of their merit (without the benefit of any relaxation/concession), can opt for a higher choice of service earmarked for Reserved Category and thereby migrate to reservation category". 

The judgment, authored by the incumbent Chief Justice of India himself, concludes as under;
i) MRC candidates who avail the benefit of Rule 16 (2) and adjusted in the reserved category should be counted as part of the reserved pool for the purpose of computing the aggregate reservation quotas. The seats vacated by MRC candidates in the General Pool will be offered to General category candidates.
ii) By operation of Rule 16 (2), the reserved status of an MRC candidate is protected so that his/ her better performance does not deny him of the chance to be allotted to a more preferred service. 
iii) The amended Rule 16 (2) only seeks to recognize the inter se merit between two classes of candidates i.e. a) meritorious reserved category candidates b) relatively lower ranked reserved category candidates, for the purpose of allocation to the various Civil Services with due regard for the preferences indicated by them.
iv) The reserved category candidates “belonging to OBC, SC/ ST categories” who are selected on merit and placed in the list of General/Unreserved category candidates can choose to migrate to the respective reserved category at the time of allocation of services. Such migration as envisaged by Rule 16 (2) is not inconsistent with Rule 16 (1) or Articles 14, 16 (4) and 335 of the Constitution.
The reasoning of the Bench has inter alia been stated in the following terms;
24. There is an obvious distinction between qualifying through an entrance test for securing admission in a medical college and qualifying in the UPSC examinations since the latter examination is conducted for filling up vacancies in the various civil services. In the former case, all the successful candidates receive the same benefit of securing admission in an educational institution. However, in the latter case there are variations in the benefits that accrue to successful candidates because they are also competing amongst themselves to secure the service of their choice. For example, most candidates opt for at least one of the first three services [i.e. Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS)] when they are asked for preferences. A majority of the candidates prefer IAS as the first option. In this respect, a Reserved Category candidate who has qualified as part of the general list should not be disadvantaged by being assigned to a lower service against the vacancies in the General Category especially because if he had availed the benefit of his Reserved Category status, he would have got a service of a higher preference. With the obvious intention of preventing such an anomaly, Rule 16 (2) provides that an MRC candidate is at liberty to choose between the general quota or the respective Reserved Category quota.
25. Some factual examples can clarify the position. In 2005, an MRC (OBC) candidate attained 21st Rank overall. With respect to his position in the General Merit List, there were General Category IAS vacancies available, and he occupied the 17th out of 45 General vacancies in the IAS. Thus, he did not need the assistance of Rule 16(2) to get a post in a more preferred service since he was adjusted against the General List. Accordingly, he opted out of the Reserved Category. This was in line with the proposition that when a candidate is entitled to a certain post on his merit alone, he should not be counted against the reserved quota. In contrast, another candidate who was an MRC (OBC) candidate obtained 64th Rank overall in the CSE 2005. At his position in the General List, he was entitled to a post in the IPS since the General Category IAS vacancies had been exhausted by candidates above him in the General merit list. However, IPS was his second preference while IAS was his first preference. If he were to be considered against the vacancies in the Reserved Category, he would be entitled to a post in the IAS because the 22 OBC IAS vacancies had not been exhausted at that point of time. By the operation of Rule 16 (2), he was able to secure a post in the IAS, while retaining his Reserved Status. Having availed of this benefit, he was adjusted against the Reserved (OBC) category.
32. Therefore, we are of the firm opinion that MRC candidates who avail the benefit of Rule 16(2) and are eventually adjusted in the Reserved Category should be counted as part of the reserved pool for the purpose of computing the aggregate reservation quotas. The seats vacated by MRC candidates in the general pool will therefore be offered to General Category candidates. This is the only viable solution since allotting these General Category seats (vacated by MRC candidates) to relatively lower ranked Reserved Category candidates would result in aggregate reservations exceeding 50% of the total number of available seats. Hence, we see no hurdle to the migration of MRC candidates to the Reserved Category.

1 comment:

varun_renu60 said...

yes, this is a very good decision that the seats vacated by these so called MRC candidates in general pool should be offered to general category candidates but some states like Punjab are playing politics and voting games by joing these MRC in general category and vacated seats again published as new recruitment following all same procedure (test and Merit) by deploying that we offered thousands of Jobs.Then again the life of general category candidate will depend on what he perform next time untill 37 year of age. Does this procedure work? Why we are playing with the carrers of these youths just for votes and politics. Reservation must be merits of economy not on the basis of caste.