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It is settled law that even the High Courts in exercise of their equity jurisdiction without applying the doctrine of prospective over-ruling, indisputably can grant a limited relief : Delhi High Court

When a candidate gets selected for admission or for appointment to a post on the basis of his own merit and without availing any relaxations, then his selection would not be counted against the reserved post as upheld by the High Court of Delhi through the learned bench lead by Justice Manmohan in the case of Hemant Pokhriyal v. Staff Selection Commission & Ors. (W.P.(C) 4982/2021 & C.M.No.15269/2021)

The brief facts of the case are that a writ petition has been filed challenging the selection procedure of the respondents for the post of Constable (GD) in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), NIA, SSF and Rifleman (GD) in Assam Rifles insofar as it debars a candidate from the reserved category from being adjusted against the General vacancy if the candidate has availed any relaxation irrespective of the fact that such relaxation is also available to the General category candidates.

Learned Counsel for the petitioner states that the petitioner belongs to Other Backward Class from the border guarding district of Uttarkashi. He qualified in the computer based examination and was shortlisted for the Physical Efficiency Test (PET) and Physical Standard Test (PST) in which he availed the relaxations in the standards of height and chest as available to all the male candidates falling in the categories of Garhwalis, Kumaonis, Dogras, Marathas and candidates belonging to the States of Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. In the final result, the Petitioner was not selected in either of the categories. He was not accommodated in the un-reserved category because he had availed relaxation in the measurement of height and chest during the Physical Standard Test (PST). He submitted that since the relaxation availed by the Petitioner was also available to the candidates from the unreserved category, the petitioner should have been included in the final selection list of the unreserved category, having scored more than the cut-off.

Learned counsel for the respondents contended that since the petitioner had availed the relaxed standards in height and chest measurement, he had to be considered in the category as per the provisions contained in Clause 11(xiv) and not under Clause 11(xiii) of the Examination Notification. He states that the height & chest of the petitioner is less than the physical standards fixed for common recruitment test of CT(GD) in CAPFs & Assam Rifles, NIA and SSF and he has been declared qualified in the physical standard on relaxed standards as per the provisions on anthropological or geographical grounds. He further states that only the SC/ST/OBC candidates who are selected on their own merits without relaxed standards, along with candidates of other communities will not be adjusted in the reserved vacancies.

After hearing the learned counsels for the respective parties at length, the Hon’ble High Court held, “This Court directs that the present judgment would have prospective effect i.e., it would not disturb the list of selected candidates till date. However, the vacancies that remain to be filled, shall be filled in accordance with the revised list, that should be prepared in accordance with the law declared by this Court in the present judgment. With the aforesaid directions, the writ petition along with pending application stands disposed of.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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