Post age-relaxation benefit, candidates can't migrate to general seats: SC

New Delhi


The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a reserved category candidate cannot seek accommodation in or migration to general seat, after availing of the age relaxation in the selection process.

A bench comprising justices A Abdul Nazeer and Indira Banerjee upheld the Gujarat High Court order, which ruled the candidates who have already availed of the age relaxation benefit by virtue of belonging to a reserved category cannot be permitted for consideration in the general category. Their cases will be restricted to reserved category.

Article 16(4) of the Constitution empowers a state to give reservation in appointments to backward class of citizens, whom it considers not being adequately represented in service, observed the court. 

Niravkumar Dilipbhai Makwana moved the apex court challenging the high court order. The High Court had upheld the selection process adopted by Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC). The court said: "The state government has clarified that when a relaxed standard is applied in selecting a candidate for SC/ST, SEBC category in the age limit, experience, qualification, permitting number of chances in the written examination etc., then candidate of such a category selected in the said manner, shall have to be considered only against his/her reserved post."

Making an observation on the circulars issued by the state government, the court said that once the candidate has availed of the benefit of age-relaxation, then migration to a general category is not possible. 

Applications were called by GPSC through an advertisement for 167 posts of Assistant Conservator of Forests and Range Forest Officer in March 2010. Candidates from SC/ST and SEBC category were granted the upper age limit relaxation. The advertisement pointed out that if any candidate belonging to a reserved category applies in the open category, then the benefit of age relaxation will not be considered. 

The court noted that the formulation of policy is at the discretion of the state and it can grant relaxation either conditionally or unconditionally to support the citizens of backward classes.

The Gujarat government on January 21, 2000 and July 23, 2004 issued circulars in connection with a policy for the grant of reservation in favour of SC/ST and OBC, observed the court. IANS