Title: J. Vinutha V. All India Institute of Medical Sciences – AIIMS & Anr.
Ordered on: 31st June, 2023
+ W.P.(C) 9958/2023
CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE CHANDRA DHARI SINGH
The petitioner filed a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking several reliefs, including setting aside the rejection of her candidature from the OBC category to the unreserved category during the selection process for the post of Senior Residents/Senior Demonstrators. The petitioner also challenged the subsequent scrutiny done by the respondents after the issuance of the admit card and conducting the Computerized Examination (Stage-I). Additionally, the petitioner sought disclosure of marks and ranks scored by candidates in the Computerized Examination (Stage-I) and permission to participate in the Interview (Stage-II) scheduled for 2nd August 2023.
The petitioner applied for the post of Senior Resident in Conservative Denistry & Endodontics as a member of the OBC (NCL) category. She submitted her OBC caste certificate in the online application, but the respondents communicated via email that the certificate was not in the prescribed format. The petitioner resubmitted the certificate as per the prescribed format on the same day but received another rejection notification from the respondents. The respondents then issued an admit card on a provisional basis, and the petitioner appeared for the Recruitment Test (Stage-I). Subsequently, the results were declared, but marks and ranks were concealed, and the respondents rejected the petitioner’s candidature for the OBC category, stating that the certificate was submitted after the cut-off date.
Courts analysis and decision
The petitioner’s case raises important issues regarding the rejection of her candidature based on technical grounds related to her OBC caste certificate. The Court took note of the fact that the petitioner’s OBC status was not in dispute, and the certificate was issued by a competent authority. Despite this, the rejection of her candidature solely on the grounds of a technicality was found to be unfair and arbitrary.
The Court’s analysis considered the principle of equity and justice and emphasized that an overly rigid and hyper-technical approach should not be adopted in matters concerning caste certificates. It cited precedents from various High Courts and the Supreme Court that have consistently emphasized the need for a practical and reasonable approach while dealing with such issues.
In granting interim relief, the Court sought to protect the petitioner’s rights and interests by allowing her to participate in the Interview (Stage-II) scheduled for 2nd August 2023. This decision was based on the Court’s prima facie view that the rejection of the petitioner’s candidature was unjustified and required further consideration.
The Court also directed the respondents to file a counter affidavit within three weeks, giving them an opportunity to present their viewpoint. The petitioner was granted the right to file a rejoinder, if necessary, within two weeks after receiving the counter affidavit.
Overall, the Court’s holding reflected a balanced approach, ensuring that the petitioner’s rights were safeguarded and that her case would be heard with due consideration. The matter was scheduled for further consideration on 4th September 2023, indicating the Court’s commitment to resolving the issue in a fair and just manner.
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Written by- Ankit Kaushik