Uttar Pradesh PSC’s memorandum increasing reservation for OBC candidates held illegal, State Govt. directed to make reservation based on correct quantifiable data

Allahabad High Court: UP Public Service Commission had issued an advertisement dated 22.10.2013 inviting applications for 6628 vacancies of Subordinate Agriculture Services, Cadre-III (Technical Assistant Group-C). In the advertisement, 3616 vacancies were allotted to unreserved category (UR); 2211 vacancies were reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates of U.P.; 235 vacancies were reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST) candidates of U.P., 566 vacancies were reserved for Other Backward Class (OBC) candidates of U.P., 132 posts were reserved for Dependents of Freedom Fighter (DFF) candidates of UP; 1325 vacancies were reserved for Women of UP, 331 vacancies were reserved for Ex-servicemen of UP and 253 vacancies were reserved for Physically Handicapped (PH) candidates.

After the preliminary examination was concluded, an Office Memorandum dated 12.10.2014 was issued increasing posts of OBC category from 566 to 2030. The petitioners, however, appeared in the interview held after the memorandum was issued. When the result came in, the petitioners did not stand qualified due to the conversion of seats after the memorandum came into effect.

The foremost argument of the State against the petitioners was that they petitioners having full knowledge of the revised requisition appeared in the interview, took a chance to get selected and after failure on merits they ceased their right to challenge the result or selection. It was contended that they have estopped themselves from complaining now. On hearing both the sides, the High Court cited numerous landmark judgments on vertical and horizontal reservation in order to conclude the matter. The Court cited Indira Sawhney v. Union of India, 1992 Supp (3) SCC 217 to reiterate that the percentage of reservation can’t exceed 50% of the total number of seats. Reserving more than 50% of the seats through office memorandum was a gross violation of law, the Division Bench observed.

The Court also brought to light the various legislative provisions which govern the matters of reservation in Public Services in the State like the Uttar Pradesh Public Services (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Act, 1994 (U.P. Act No. 4 of 1994). The Court also highlighted Article 335 which is a bar to excessive reservation and provides for efficiency in services of Union and States.

The Court discussed that as per the mandate given by the Supreme Court there must exist two circumstances namely:

(a) backwardness (social and educational) and (b) inadequacy of representation.

As such, to achieve equality, the quantifiable data is the imperative to determine objectivity and accordingly, provide reservation. If the State fails to identify and measure the quantifiable data with objectivity, then the ideals for providing equality would be defeated and frustrated.

The Court found that the entire maneuvering had taken place in the garb of diploma holders wherein 1749 diploma holders in the department were adjusted/regularized in the year 1998. Even at the time of their regularization their heads were counted. The same could be reflected from their regularization orders and once their heads were already counted qua to their respective categories and reserved category of persons especially OBC adequately represented, then there was no occasion for putting all the diploma holders against the open category. Initially on the basis of correct quantifiable data the vacancies were duly advertised but after the written examination in the garb of the adjustment of vacancies the entire scenario had been changed and the arguments advanced by the State authorities had in fact with oblique motive to usurp the public office/post of the general category.

Consequently, the Bench allowed the appeals and directed the Principal Secretary, Government of UP to send afresh requisition to the Commission on the basis of quantifiable data, existing strength of cadre as well as actual persons working in different categories forthwith so that interview may be ensured at the earlier within 4 months from the date of receipt of the certified copy of judgment. The State Government/Commission was also directed to conduct all the future selections on the basis of quantifiable data, existing strength of cadre as well as actual persons working in different categories. [Manish Upadhyay v. State of U.P., 2017 SCC OnLine All 334, decided on 10.02.2017]

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