Candidates Selected on Merit can enjoy quota benefit under UPSC rule: SC

Candidates Selected on Merit can enjoy quota benefit under UPSC rule

The Supreme Court has upheld the Constitutional validity of a UPSC rule allowing merit list candidates, belonging to reserved category, to avail the quota benefit while choosing posts.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by  Chief Justice    K.G.Balakrishnan on Friday set aside the Madras High Court judgement which had declared the Union Public Service Commission rule as unconstitutional.

Such migrations (of reserved category candidates taking the benefit of reservation even after making into merit list) is not inconsistent with the provision of the Constitution….Appeals are allowed,” the bench said.

The court passed the order on a special leave petition filed by the Centre challenging the Madras High Court verdict.

The bench said the option to take benefit of the quota after migrating to the reserved category was validly allowed by the UPSC.

Migration under Rule 16 (2) as amended in 2005 is not inconsistent with the Constitutional provisions under Article 14 and 16.

“Under such facts and circumstances, the Madras High Court judgement is set aside and the Constitutional validity of Rule 16 (2) is upheld,” the bench, also comprising Justices S H Kapadia, R V Raveendran, B Sudershan Reddy and P Sathasivam said in an unanimous verdict.

The judgement assumes significance as it would have a bearing on the procedure for allotment of posts adopted by UPSC as well as aggrieved candidates who had challenged it in the Central Administrative Tribunal after the civil services examination of 2005 and 2006-07.

The apex court, on 27th August last year, had reserved its judgement after a marathon hearing involving the contentious issue which was referred to it by a smaller bench.

Rule 16 (2) of the Civil Services Examination as amended in 2005 mandates that a reserved category candidate selected on merit as general category can be considered as reserved category for allocation of a post on preferential basis.

However, this rule was held as unconstitutional by the Madras High Court, leading to filing of appeals against it by the Centre and aggrieved candidates. The aggrieved candidates come from both categories.

The Centre had defended the Rule by contending that it has been enacted to further the cause of the deprived classes and is not violative of the Constitution.

It had contended that the rule gives the candidates of deprived classes, selected in merit list without taking the benefit of reservation, an opportunity for appointment to a service of higher choice in order of their preference.


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