Allahabad HC rejects plea to lower cut-off marks when total number of seats advertised were not filled

Allahabad High Court: The Court was deciding a writ petition by one Bhuvnesh Pachuri belonging to the category of “Dependents of Freedom Fighters” (General) who sought lowering of cut-off marks after failing to clear the written examination for the post of junior engineers in UP Jal Nigam.

Contention of the petitioner was that since the total seats advertised were 469, 2% of 469 coming to 9.38, hence 9 posts were required to be reserved for the said category, but only 5 candidates were invited for interview and all of them were selected. The petitioner apprised the Court of the fact that in the written examination, the cut off marks for qualifying for interview was fixed as 42, but the petitioner obtained only 34 marks and was thus, not called for the interview.

The respondent further stated that as per S. 3(5) of U.P. Public Services (Reservation for Physically Handicapped, Dependents of Freedom Fighters and Ex-Servicemen) Act 1997, when suitable candidates are not found the vacancies are carried over to the next recruitment. Petitioner on the other hand, contended that the cut-off marks of 42 was for the General Category and the same should have been lowered for the Reserved Category relying on various Apex Court judgments namely, Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation v. Union of India, (2014) 15 SCC 497 and All India Confederation of Blind v. Union of India, (2017)3 SCC 525, where relaxation of 5% in cut-off marks was provided by the University Grants Commission to the persons with visual disability for appearing in N.E.T. for Junior Research Fellowship and Lectureship.

Regarding these cases cited, the Court noted that it is not the case of petitioner that prior to his appearance in the competitive examination, there was some law/rule providing any relaxation in cut-off marks to candidates of any vertical or horizontal category and declined to grant any relief of lowering the cut off marks for his social category of reservation. [Bhuvnesh Pachauri v. State of U.P., Writ A No. 2736 of 2016, decided on 27.11.2016]

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