33% reservation for women not applicable to non-domicile holders: Punjab High Court

In Kalpana Komal Bhati v/s State of Punjab and Ors. (CWP-16556 of 2022 (O&M), the Punjab High Court passed a judgement on 12th January,2023, stating that 33% reservation for women is not applicable to non-domicile candidates. The case was presided by Honourable Mr. Justice Anil Kshetrapal.


Three writ petitions were filed under mandamus in lieu for the recruitment of the Junior Engineer examination. This examination was conducted by the Punjab Public Service Commission. The petitioners claimed to pass the written examination and their names were reflected on the merit list. However, it was followed by a failure of appointment by the Government. The primary question to be addressed before the court was whether the reservation is confined to the women of the State of Punjab or is it applicable to all the women that belong to the other States also?

The three writ petitions were filed under:

Kalpana Komal Bhati v/s State of Punjab and Ors. (CWP-16556 of 2022 (O&M)

Simran Kaur Saini & Ors. v/s State of Punjab and another (CWP-18374 of 2022 (O&M)

Bhawan Yadav and another v/s State of Punjab and another (CWP-16664 of 2022 (O&M)


The learned counsel representing the petitioner held that 33% reservation was provided to women irrespective of their place of residence. To this, the learned counsel representing the respondent presented to the court quoting the Department of Personnel “ it has been decided by the Cabinet in its meeting held on 18.03.2017 to give 33% reservation to the women of State of Punjab in direct recruitment of Group-A, B, C and D posts”

The Court held that there was ambiguity on whether the rules were distinct for women belonging to the state or uniform for women, irrespective of their place of residence or non-domicile holders. However, nowhere has it been provided in the rules that non-domicile women shall be entitled to reservation. Referring to the quote of Department of Personnel, the court held that the statement leaves no room for ambiguities. The Court also held that the Government is entitled to issue instructions in case of gaps/ lacunae in the rules. Here, a reference was made of the judgement in Sant Ram Sharma v/s State of Rajasthan (AIR 1967 Supreme Court, 1910). Hence, the Court held that 33% direct reservation was available to the women belonging to the state of Punjab.

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