Verdict against meritorious backward civil service aspirants suspended

May 19th, 2008 - 6:54 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday suspended a Madras High Court ruling which held that backward and dalit students, competing in the civil services examination on merit, could not gain from quotas in allocation of better and higher services and cadres. An apex court’s vacation bench of Justice C.K. Thakkar and Justice L.S. Panta stayed the March 2008 ruling of the high court on a challenge by the Union government.

The bench also issued notices to the petitioners who had challenged the Union Public Service Commission’s Civil Service Examination (CSE) rule that provided benefit of reservation in allocation of better services and cadres to the backward and dalit category students who compete the civil services examination on merit without availing the benefit of reservation.

Petitioners Ramesh Ram, K. Chandrasekar and Navlendra Kumar Singh, belonging to backward and dalit category, had challenged the UPSC rule on cadre and service allocation first before the Chennai bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal and later before the Madras High Court.

While staying the high court ruling for the time being, the bench said the apex court would have an elaborate hearing over the matter after its summer vacation.

With the apex court staying the high court ruling for the time being, the union government will be able to provide the quota benefit in allocation of better services and cadres also to those backward and dalit category civil service aspirants who have qualified the examination on merit.

The petitioner had challenged the CSE rule on service and cadre allocation contending that backward and dalit category students, competing the examination on merit without availing the benefit of reservation, must not be given the same at a later stage during the allocation of service and cadre.

The petitioner had contended that owing to the CSE rule, the meritorious backward and dalit category aspirants, who qualify the examination without availing the benefit of relaxed norms under reservation, eat into a good number of seats among better services and cadres, that otherwise would have gone to backward and dalit candidates, availing the benefit of reservation.

Agreeing with the contentions of the petitioners, the Chennai bench of CAT had struck down the CSE rule in September 2007. The union government subsequently challenged the CAT’s ruling before the Madras High Court, but the high court too endorsed the CAT’s ruling.

The high court had endorsed the CAT’s ruling, saying that if a meritorious backward category student, competing the civil services examination on his own merit, is given the benefit of reservation in allocation of services and cadre, it would impinge upon the rights of the general category students.

They would also block the seats for backward category students, who have qualified, availing the benefit of the reservation and the relaxed norms of competition.

“When a post is reserved, the question of allocating the service in the reserved category to a person, who has been included in the unreserved merit list, does not at all arise.”

“It amounts to reducing the number of posts reserved for dalit, tribal and backward category candidates and adding the same to the unreserved category, making a mockery of the entire rule of reservation,” the high court had said in its ruling March 20, 2008.

The Union government, however, contended in its petition before the apex court that if a backward category student, qualifying the prestigious civil services on his own merit, is not given the benefit of reservation in allocation of services and cadre, it would result in an anomaly.

The anomaly would lead to the non-meritorious backward category aspirants getting better and higher services compared to those allocated to their meritorious counterparts, it argued.

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