Meritorious reserved candidate is deemed to be an Open merit candidate: Jammu & Kashmir High Court

A meritorious reserved candidate who chooses to avail the option of admission in a particular College kept for reserved category is deemed to have been admitted as an open merit category candidate. The rule 17 of the J&K Reservation Rules, 2005 provides that candidates belonging to reserved categories qualifying for higher ranking on the basis of their merit and depending on their performance in the entrance examination are placed in the general merit list. This provision was once again operated by the Jammu & Kashmir High Court presided by J. Sanjeev Kumar in the case of Mehak Javid vs. J&K Professional Examinations & ors. [17WPC 1998/2020].

The petitioner applied online for the NEET test under RBA category. The BOPEE prepared and notified tentative UT merit list where the petitioner was accorded UT Rank 1650. Accordingly, out of total number of 1000 seats of MBBS in different Medical Colleges of the UT of J&K, 200 seats were allotted to RBA category. Out of 200 seats 100 go to female candidates. The other respondent was a female candidate under RBA category and had scored 421 and ranked 1977 and was allotted MBBS seat in GMC, Doda whereas the petitioner was not allotted any seat under female RBA category. The petitioner, after representing the matter before the BOPEE, and having found no response thereto, filed the instant writ petitions of certiorari and mandamus seeking reliefs.

The honorable court contended, “Rule 17 thus deals with a situation where some candidates belonging to reserved category/categories qualifying for higher ranking on the basis of their merit and depending on their performance in the entrance examination are placed in the general merit list. Such candidates when go to occupy general category seats, are not counted against the quota earmarked for reserved category. He is treated as a general category candidate and the seat that fall vacant goes to a candidate belonging to the category who is next in order of merit to the candidate last selected in such category.”

The court further observed that “BOPEE found that six female candidates under RBA category for MBBS with GMC Srinagar as their first preference had the merit points higher than the cut off in the open category, and, therefore, had been selected under the open merit category. Such candidates claimed their admission in the GMC Srinagar, on the basis of their ‘merit cum preference’ in their reserved category. The resultant seats in the open were shifted to the benefit of RBA candidates which were filled up in GMC Doda. Similar is position with short fall of three seats in RBA female category in GMC Jammu as pointed out by learned counsel for the respondents. It is thus clear Rule 17 has worked in the manner envisaged in law and the BOPEE has filled up all the 100 seats earmarked for RBA female candidates for admission to MBBS course in the eight Medical College.”

The court referred to the judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Teripurari Sharan and anr v. Ranjeet Kumar Yadav and ors2018 (2) SCC 656. “An MRC can opt for a seat earmarked for the reserved category, so as to not disadvantage him against less meritorious reserved category candidates. Such MRC shall be treated as part of the general category only. Due to the MRC’s choice, one reserved category seat is occupied, and one seat among the choices available to the general category candidates remains unoccupied. Consequently, one lesser-ranked reserved category candidate who had choices among the reserved category is affected as he does not get any choice anymore.”

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