Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Ravi Malimath and R.C. Khulbe, JJ., allowed a writ petition filed by the petitioner aggrieved by the order of the Commission rejecting his caste certificate because of which he was unable to avail reservation and appear for the interview.

The respondent had issued a notification for the post of Uttarakhand Judicial Services Civil Judge (Junior Division) Examination-2019, for selection of 15 posts by way of direct recruitment. By a corrigendum, the number of vacancies were increased from 15 to 28. Out of these vacancies, the reservations were demarcated. The petitioner had applied as a candidate belonging to the un-reserved category. It was indicated that the cut-off marks for the unreserved category was 145.75 marks, whereas the petitioner had secured 141.75 marks. The petitioner, being convinced that he had received less marks filed the instant writ petition seeking for a writ, to direct the respondents to examine the veracity of the answers. Errors were noticed in the marks awarded. On considering the same, the Court was of the view that the petitioner would be entitled to 5 more marks making him eligible to write the main examination and consequently he wrote the main exam. In the interregnum, petitioner had filed an application before respondent 1 to consider him as a candidate belonging to the OBC category which was denied by the respondent. Thereafter, an application was filed seeking for additional prayers to quash the impugned order rejecting the plea of the petitioner to declare that he is entitled to be considered under the OBC category; and to direct the respondent-Commission to revise the result of the examination, and consequential reliefs.

The counsel for the respondent, B.D. Kandpal contended that petitioner was not a domicile of the State of Uttarakhand, and therefore, was disqualified from writing the exam and that the petitioner had applied under the unreserved category while filling up the form for the preliminary exam because of which he cannot be allowed to change the category to OBC.

The cut off for the general merit category is 50%, namely, 425 marks, and for the OBC category, it is 40%, namely 340 marks. He secured 388 marks out of 850 marks which make the petitioner ineligible to appear for the interview while in the un-reserved category. However, what is relevant herein is that the caste certificate was produced by the petitioner before the respondent-Commission which was rejected by them.

The Court while allowing the petition explained that the certificate entitling the petitioner, as belonging to the OBC category, was issued to him before the last date of filing the documents, therefore, respondent should have rightly considered the petitioner as belonging to the OBC category. The Court relying on a Supreme Court judgment stated “There is a difference between ‘fact’ and ‘proof’. There can be no relaxation so far as facts are concerned. The fact is that the candidate must belong to a category which he claims. The proof is a submission of material in proof of such a claim. Therefore, even if there is a delay in submitting the proof of the claim, the same can be condoned.”

The order of rejection passed by the respondent was quashed and it was directed to consider the writ petitioner as a candidate belonging to the OBC category for the purposes of the main examination along with making sure that petitioner participates in the interview to be held by the Commission during 17th to 19th September, 2020 as an OBC candidate.[Ishank v. Uttarakhand Public Service Commission, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 549, decided on 15-09-2020]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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