The Karnataka High Court criticized the Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited for reassigning a reserved category candidate to the general seat without providing an opportunity to rectify a Social Status Certificate visibility issue

Title: Devaraj P R And Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited

Citation: WRIT APPEAL NO. 708 OF 2023

Decided on: 08.11.2023

Coram: Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Krishna S. Dixit


The Karnataka High Court recently criticized the Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited for moving a candidate from the reserved category to the general seat solely because the Social Status Certificate he uploaded with the application was unclear. The division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit stated that a simple notification to the candidate about the alleged defect would have made the contested action in line with the principles of natural justice.

Facts of the case

The petitioner had gone to court to challenge a decision by a single-judge bench that dismissed his petition contesting his non-selection for the post. The Federation opposed the plea, arguing that the terms of the Recruitment Notification allowed for the rejection of online applications, particularly those with unclear or vague documents.

 Court’s observation and analysis

The bench initially emphasized that the Cooperative Federation qualifies as the State under Article 12 of the Constitution, implying that it must conduct its affairs in a just and reasonable manner. Consequently, it stated that the instruction in the recruitment notification, which mandates the automatic rejection of a candidate’s application due to errors, “cannot be interpreted to exclude the principles of natural justice,” which are often considered part of Article 14 of the Constitution. The court asserted that the principles of natural justice should be inherent in statutory instruments unless expressly or implicitly excluded.

The court observed that the Federation did not argue that the submitted certificate was spurious or inadmissible but contended that it was not legible when web-hosted. The bench questioned why the Federation did not ask the appellant to submit a legible certificate, stating, “We fail to understand what heavens would have fallen down had the Federation asked the Appellant to web-host a legible Certificate.”

As a result, the bench directed the Federation to reassess the candidature of Devraj PR for selection and appointment to the advertised post.

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Written by- Amrita Rout

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