Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)
Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday cancelled results of State Service Exam, 2019 while declaring an amendment in Madhya Pradesh State Service Examination Rules 2015 as ultra vires. The court directed the state government and Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission (MPPSC), both respondents, to conduct and complete recruitment process as per unamended rules.
While partly allowing a good number of writ petitions filed against the said amendment, the two judge bench of Justice Sujoy Paul and Judtice Dwarka Dhish Bansal in its judgment said that the amendment "runs contrary to nine judges bench judgment of the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney case and does not have any rationale and basis for depriving the reserved category candidate securing equal or more marks than that of general category candidates, from securing berth as unreserved candidate in all stages of selection."
The court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 4 of Madhya Pradesh Lok Seva (Anusuchit Jatiyon, Anusuchit Jan Jatiyon Aur Anya Pichhade Vargon Ke Liye Arakshan) Adhiniyam, 1994 and said, "The provision is declared as intra vires. There is no element of unconstitutionality in this provision. It is in consonance with Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India." The court said, "Such meritorious reserved category candidate merges in open/UR category because of his own merit. Depriving such candidate from his entitlement to get space in UR (unreserved) category amounts to dividing a homogeneous class of UR category on the basis of their birth mark which is impermissible." As per the order, MPPSC published advertisement on November 14, 2019 for conducting State Service Examination- 2019 for a total 571 posts including the post of reserved category.
The preliminary exam was conducted on January 12, 2020. Then, there came the amendment in the examination rules on February 17, 2020.
The amendment stated, "Candidates of reserved category (Scheduled caste/ Scheduled Tribe/Other Banckwards Classes/ Economically Weaker Section) who get selected like general category candidates without any relaxation shall not be adjusted against the posts reserved for those reserved categories. They shall be adjusted against vacancies of unreserved category." The amendment added, "But above adjustment will only be at the time of final selection, not at the time of preliminary/ main examination." The result of examination was declared on December 21, 2020 on the basis of amended rules of 2020. Aggrieved, a batch of writ petitions were filed in the high court.
There was another amendment in rules affected on December 20, 2021 to restore the pre-amended rules. The court observed that as per main unamended rule, a meritorious reserved category candidate was entitled to compete with unreserved category candidates and get his position in open/unreserved category. "By impugned amendment dated 17.2.2020, this right was taken away by confining the benefit at the time of final selection only. By subsequent amendment, dated 20.12.2021, the earlier position prevailing at the time of unamended rules was restored. Thus, impugned amendment became a hurdle for the meritorious reserved category candidates to be treated as unreserved /open category candidate", states the order.
Referring to Articles 14 and 16 of Constitution the bench said there must be a rationale between the object sought to be achieved and the impugned provision. 'The State has failed to establish any valid nexus between the two'.