HC: No general quota job for reserved category candidate availing age benefit

 Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of Krishan Kumar vs Maharishi Dayanand University ruled that, if someone belonging to a reserved category avails age relaxation for appointment to a post, then he will be eligible for the said post against that category only but not the general category. A candidate from Jhajjar district, belonging to the SC category who was at the age of 47 years, had already availed the age relaxation under the said category, claimed for a post meant for the candidates belonging to the General category but the hon’ble High Court rejected his claim as he had already exceeded the age limit to apply for that post as a general category candidate i.e. 42 years.

High Court Chandigarh Order related to Reserved Quota Age Benefit in General
High Court Chandigarh Order related to Reserved Quota Age Benefit in General

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In this case, the petitioner, Krishan Kumar, was 47 years of age and had applied for selection to the post of library attendant in a college under Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak. The post was meant for the general category. As the maximum age limit to be eligible for government jobs in the state is 42-years for general category, the petitioner sought age exemption (of five years) for being SC category candidate. Although he was selected for the job, the authorities refused to approve his selection on the grounds that he availed age relaxation under SC category and would, thus, be considered on the post reserved for SC category candidates.

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The Constitution of India protects the interests of the backward classes through Article 16(4) which states as follows “Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.” Haryana Government issued vide letter no. 22/88/96-3GSIII dated 25.06.1997 in which it is provided that “if any member/members belonging to Scheduled Castes/Backward Classes is/are selected in the open competition for direct recruitment on the basis of their own merit, they will not be counted against the quota reserved for Scheduled Castes/Backward Classes, they will be treated as open competition candidates. However, such candidates should fulfill conditions of eligibility regarding age etc. as are meant for general category candidates.” The Hon’ble Supreme court also, in Niravkumar Dilipbhai Makwana vs. Gujarat Public Service Commission expressly bars reserved category candidates from availing any sort of relaxation for selection under the general category.

A candidate irrespective of the caste/category he belongs to, is entitled to appointment to a post if he qualifies the grounds of merit. But in this case the candidate wanted to migrate from the SC category to the General category, and the point of conflict here was that he had already exceeded the age limit that a General category candidate must not exceed to get appointed for that post. If the petitioner here was less than the age of 42 years he could’ve got the post as any General candidate could’ve. He was at the age of 47 years and had already availed the relaxation of age, so it would be imbecile to allow him to migrate to the General category.

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The Hon’ble High Court in this case dismissed the petition filed by the candidate. The court’s decision relied on a circular issued by Haryana dated April 26, 2018, and observed, “It is evident that a reserved candidate, who wishes to be adjusted/appointed against a general category candidate, has to fulfill the criteria and the eligibility qualification prescribed for the general category candidate. The circular specifically provides that in cases where a reserved category candidate availed relaxation in age qualifying norms etc. then he/she will be treated against the reserved category and not against the general category. It was also argued that, there being no bar for a SC candidate to fall under a zone of consideration but he cannot avail relaxation of age under general category. Though reservation benefits provided are for the empowerment and upliftment of the Backward Classes, these benefits are not absolute. Krishan Kumar, the candidate being forty seven, had almost exhausted the available age relaxation benefit and wanted a post which was meant for a General category candidate. The court concluded by denying the claim. The judgement cleared the confusion with the best rational approach. The relaxation of age provided to the SC candidates is of five years and anyone belonging to the category avails the same becomes ineligible to apply for the other positions under General category in the future.

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For case specific advice on Service law related matters in Punjab Haryana High Court Chandigarh, please contact top service matter expert lawyers & advocate.

This post is written by Mohit Phulera.

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