late submission of OBC certificate

Supreme Court: In a special leave to appeal against Delhi High Court’s decision, whereby the petitioner’s writ petition challenging the rejection of his candidature for appointment to the post of Navik (General Duty) in the Indian Coast Guard (respondent) was dismissed, the three Judge Bench comprising of BR Gavai, Satish Chandra Sharma and Sandeep Mehta, JJ. issued notice and gave interim relief by way of an ad interim direction to the respondent to permit the petitioner to participate in the selection process.

In the matter at hand, the petitioner applied for the post of Navik (GD) in the category of Other Backward Class (Non-Creamy Layer) through online application and after clearing Stage-I passed the physical fitness test, medical examination and document verification including category certificates at the time of Stage-II. However, the respondents rejected the candidature of the petitioner on the ground that he submitted his OBC certificate bearing date of issue after the cut-off/closing date of the application form as mentioned in the advertisement. The petitioner made his first representation dated 20-05-2023 to the Director General, ICG Headquarters, New Delhi requesting for non-cancellation of his candidature. The petitioner came to know of the cut-off marks for the ‘general category’ and the ‘OBC category’ as 84 and 82 respectively and that he had secured 88 marks. Upon no response on his representation, the petitioner filed the writ petition before the High Court seeking a direction to set aside the action of the respondents as to rejection of his candidature in General Category.

The High Court in Chanchali Gowrinaidu v. Indian Coast Guard, 2024 SCC OnLine Del 1397 vide the impugned order dismissed the writ petition and opined that there was nothing mala fide or vice and there was nothing adverse to the prejudice of the petitioner. The High Court held that though the petitioner secured 88 marks, which was more than the cut-off of 84 marks in the ‘general category’ and 82 marks in the ‘OBC category’ respectively, his candidature was rejected by the respondents at the Stage-II for mismatch qua the details of his category certificate and as the said certificate was also, admittedly, obtained after the closing date of the online application form.

Considering that the petitioner was a meritorious candidate and secured more marks than the cut-off for the general category, the Court issued notice and directed respondents to permit the petitioner to participate in the selection process. The Court clarified that the petitioner’s participation shall be subject to further orders passed by the Court.

[Chanchali Gowrinaidu v. Indian Coast Guard, 2024 SCC OnLine SC 557, Order Dated: 10-04-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

For the petitioner: AOR Abhinay, Advocate Deeksha Prakash, Advocat Kirti Vyas

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