Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Supreme Court examines the difference betwen the Vertical (social) and Horizontal (Special) Reservation under the constitution of India and the manner of its implementation.

Court: Supreme Court of India

Bench: K. G. Balakrishnan;  R. V. Raveendran and  Dalveer Bhandari, Justices

Case No. : CIVIL APPEAL No. 3132 of 2007

Case title: Rajesh Kumar Daria Vs. Rajasthan Public Service Commission & Ors

Date of Judgement:  18/07/2007

Cases refered: 
Reported as: Rajesh Kumar Daria Vs. Rajasthan Public Service, AIR 2007 SC 2137

Brief of the Case

A three Judges Bench examined the difference between vertical (social) reservation in favour of SC, ST and OBC and horizontal (special) reservation in favour of  women etc. and the manner in which this is to be applied.

The Rajasthan Public Service Commisison (RPSC) conducted an examination for posts of Munsiff - Magistrate, in the Rajasthan Judicial Service. The final section was challenged on the grounds that women candidates were selected in excess of their reservation quota, contrary to the Rules. It was contended that though the Rules provided for horizontal reservation of 20% for women categorywise, RPSC while preparing the selection list, had wrongly applied the principles of vertical reservation and had selected women in excess of the quota, thereby denying selection of the appellants and other male candidates. It was contended that they had secured higher marks than the selected women candidates and but for the excess selection of women candidates, they would have been selected. The appellants sought a declaration that the selection list dated 30.12.2001, was bad in law to the extent of excess selection of women candidates and for a consequential direction to fill those vacancies with male candidates. Th writ petitioners also sought a direction that they should be appointed if it was found that they had secured the necessary marks.

The Bench said that “where a vertical reservation is made in favour of a backward class under Article 16(4)[of the Constitution], the candidates belonging to such backward class, may compete for non-reserved posts and if they are appointed to the non-reserved posts on their own merit, their numbers will not be counted against the quota reserved for the respective backward class. Therefore, if the number of SC candidates, who by their own merit, get selected to open competition vacancies, equals or even exceeds the percentage of posts reserved for SC candidates, it cannot be said the reservation quota for SCs has been filled. The entire reservation quota will be intact and available in addition to those selected under Open Competition category.”

However, the Bench clarified that the “aforesaid principle applicable to vertical (social) reservations will not apply to horizontal (special) reservations. It said that “ where a special reservation for women is provided within the social reservation for Scheduled Castes, the proper procedure is first to fill up the quota for Scheduled Castes in order of merit and then find out the number of candidates among them who belong to the special reservation group of ‘Scheduled Castes-Women’. If the number of women in such list is equal to or more than the number of special reservation quota, then there is no need for further selection towards the special reservation quota. Only if there is any shortfall, the requisite number of scheduled caste women shall have to be taken by deleting the corresponding number of candidates from the bottom of the list relating to Scheduled Castes.”

The “women selected on merit within the vertical reservation quota will be counted against the horizontal reservation for women”, the Bench said.

Read the judgement below: