If this order opens up Pandora’s box; so be it, if it becomes a precedent; so be that: Karnataka High Court
The Karnataka High Court under Justice M Nagaprasanna in Hemanthkumar N And State of Karnataka & ANR (Writ Petition No. 24847 of 2022) has directed the Karnataka Public Service Commission to rectify the error made by a job applicant who had wrongly filled the application form under the Scheduled tribe category instead of Scheduled caste to which he belongs and regulate the provisional/final select list in accordance with his merit.
The petitioner belongs to Scheduled Caste and finding himself eligible applies for the post of Junior Assistant in the Resident Parent Cadre and the application had been sent through online as required. The petitioner claims to have got it typed at a cyber centre and while filling the application under the category column fills it as Scheduled Tribe instead of Scheduled Caste. The application gets uploaded online showing an error in his caste. Noticing the error, the petitioner again made efforts to change the category online on and claims that the change was approved on the website. Thinking that he was a participant under the Scheduled Caste category, the petitioner participated in the written test. The merit list was then notified of the candidates who had come within the zone of consideration and the name of the petitioner did figure in the said merit list securing 163 marks. After the notification of the merit list, the petitioner was called for document verification when he got to know that his category has not been changed. The petitioner then files an affidavit immediately before the Commission bringing to its notice that it was an error committed by the cyber centre but he does belong to Scheduled Caste and a certificate issued to him way back in the year 2013 certifying his caste. The Commission refused to accept the change. The petitioner approaches the Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (‘SC/ST Commission’ for short) venting out his grievance that he would lose the opportunity of consideration of his candidature for appointment if he is not considered as belonging to Scheduled Caste.
The court observed that, “It is not in dispute that the petitioner is a Scheduled Caste. Mere error in filling up an application will not change his caste status. During the time of document verification, the petitioner had submitted his caste certificate depicting to be Scheduled Caste. The Commission could have corrected the error at that time. This human error is glorified by the Commission by declining to accede to the request for change of category at the time of document verification.” The glorification of a trivial human error has resulted in loss of appointment to the petitioner, a Scheduled Caste candidate.
The court said, “A triviality cannot take away the right of a Scheduled Caste candidate for consideration of his case as a candidate belonging to Scheduled Caste.” Accordingly it allowed the petition.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY VAISHNAVI SINGH