delhi high court

Delhi High Court: A petition was filed impugning the way the Indian Coast Guard (respondents) have rejected his candidature on the ground of mismatch appearing in the online details and the documents furnished by him physically and seeks a direction for them to induct him in subsequent batch 02/2023, division bench of Sanjeev Sachdeva and Manoj Jain, JJ., quashed the impugned order and held that the decision of the respondents in declaring the petitioner as failed in stage — II cannot be sustained.

A recruitment advertisement was issued by the respondents for the post of Navik (General Duty), Navik (Domestic Branch) and Yantrik for 01/2023 batch, the petitioner, being eligible for appointment to the post of Navik (General Duty) applied for the same under Scheduled Caste (SC) category and submitted an application online giving requisite particulars and uploaded the requisite documents as well. He was issued admit card for Stage—I and qualified Stage—I written examination. He thus became eligible to download a provisional admit card for Stage—II. He was required to upload various documents at Stage—II, which he did. He then reported at the Examination Centre, Goa Headquarters to undergo Physical Fitness Test (PFT) which was also successfully qualified. During the aforesaid process, he produced, inter alia, his caste certificate dated 29-08-2009 and certificate of validity dated 04-12-2018. However, the respondents did not consider his documents and he was not permitted to participate in the last stage of Stage—II, i.e., initial medical examination.

Counsel for respondents submitted that the rejection was done on the ground of a mismatch appearing in the online details and the documents furnished by him physically mismatched information as follows:

(i) The name of the petitioner was shown as ‘Ahire Ajinkya Shankar’ in the online application whereas in the caste certificate dated 29-08-2009 his name was shown as ‘Ahire Ajinkya’;

(ii) The name of father of the petitioner was mentioned in the online application as ‘Shankar’ whereas in the caste certificate dated 29-08-2009, the same is shown as ‘Shankar Ahire’.

The Court noted that the purpose of document verification is to ensure that there is no impersonation, misleading or incorrect documents furnished to seek enlistment. The alleged mismatch cannot be labeled as discrepancy or furnishing of any false information. Mere inadvertent mentioning or non-mentioning of surname in caste certificate issued by the Competent Authority would not mean and indicate that it is a case of impersonation or furnishing of false information. The details have been filled up as per the contents of the certificates available with the petitioner. Moreover, the alleged mismatch is not such an error which could have led to rejection of the candidature of the petitioner, particularly, since there is nothing which may even remotely indicate that these are forged or procured documents. The caste certificate ought to have been read in conjunction with other documents. A holistic view of the matter would not suggest that the petitioner is not a bonafide candidate.

Thus, the Court held that the decision of the respondents cannot be sustained and directed that subject to the petitioner completing all the other requisite formalities and clearing subsequent stages, including initial medical examination, the petitioner be allowed to join induction course with the next batch. The Court further clarified that his seniority shall be reckoned with his batchmates with all consequential benefits, except that he shall not be paid any salary for the said period.

[Ahire Ajinkya Shankar v Indian Coast Guard, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 5726, decided on 14-09-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Abhinay, Mr. P. C. Roy and Ms. Deeksha Prakash, Advocates for petitioner

Ms. Uma Prasuna Bachu, Senior Panel Counsel for UOI with Mr.Ratan Negi, Deputy Commandant, ICG

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