Supreme Court says women OBC candidates eligible to fill general category vacancies too

The Supreme Court on Friday reaffirmed that women candidates, who are entitled to the caste-based reservation, can also fill open category vacancies.

The observation was made by a bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit, Vineet Saran and Ravindra Bhat in an application preferred by Sonam Tomar and Reeta Rani, who had participated in the selection process initiated for filling up vacancies of Uttar Pradesh Constables and secured 276.5949 and 233.1908 marks, respectively. They had applied in the female’s Other Backward Classes and Scheduled Caste category respectively.

The applicants submitted that their claim had been rejected by the State government despite directions issued by the Supreme  Court in its Order dated 24.07.2019 in I.A. No.10394 of 2018 (Ashish Kumar Yadav and Others vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and Others) and that candidates with lower marks have been selected in General Female category disregarding their claim.

The controversy that arose in the present round of litigation was the correct method of filling the quota reserved for women candidates.  The applicants, who are women belonging to the Other Backward Classe and Scheduled Caste categories, complained that the state had not correctly applied the rule of reservation, and denied such OBC and SC women candidates the benefit of migration, adjustment in the general category vacancies.

The quota provided for women, as well as dependents of freedom fighters and ex-servicemen, in the present case are characterized as horizontal whereas the quotas for social groups (SCs, STs, OBCs) are characterized vertical.

The bench observed that in Uttar Pradesh, there is no law or rule that mandates reservation for women. However, a government order was issued applicable to all posts on 26.2.1999 according to which the only stipulation with respect to treatment of horizontal reservation for women, is that in case a woman candidate is selected, she would be adjusted against the appropriate social category she belongs to (SC/ST/OBC/OC). However, there is no rule, or direction which prohibits the adjustment of socially reserved categories of women in the general category or open category.

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