The fixation of an upper age limit until which the benefit would be available is, not irrational: Delhi High Court

The fixation of an upper age limit until which the benefit would be available is, in my view, not irrational. For the Government to take a decision that the benefit to servicemen’s families would be maximised if candidates’ avail of the benefits at an earlier age is within the realm of a policy decision. The interference of the writ court with such policies is extremely limited as upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court through the learned bench led by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Prateek Jalan in the case of Ketan Kumar & Anr. v. Union of India & Anr. (W.P.(C) 10411/2021).

The brief facts of the case are that the petitioner No. 1 is the son of an ex-serviceman, i.e., the petitioner No. 2 herein. He aspires to gain admission in a medical course and seeks issuance of a “CW certificate” by the respondent No.1-Union of India and the respondent No. 2-Kendriya Sainik Board. The CW certificate is issued to children and wards of Armed Forces personnel, for whom seats are reserved or priority admissions are available in various educational institutions. The grievance of the petitioners is that the KSB has, by way of a communication dated 17.12.2020, declined to issue a CW certificate to the petitioner No. 1 as he is more than 25 years old. The impugned communication records that the petitioner No. 1 cannot be termed as a “dependent” of the petitioner No. 2 beyond the age of 25 years.

After the perusal of the facts and arguments by the respective parties, the Hon’ble Court held, “The fixation of a cut off age does sometimes occasion hardship upon a particular category of applicants or candidates. Although there is some randomness in the fixation of a cut off age, by its very nature, that is not sufficient to characterize it as an arbitrary or unreasonable decision. For the reasons aforesaid, I am unable to accept the case made out by the petitioners. The writ petition is, therefore, dismissed.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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