Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Orissa HC: Draw a seperate list for implementing horizontal reservation of ex-servicemen.

Court: Orissa High Court, Cuttack

Bench: Hon'ble Justice Dr. A.K.Rath

Case No.:  WP(C) No.15104 of 2015

Case Title: Bishnu Prasada Dash  Vs.  Governor Reserve Bank Of India And Ors

Author: A.K. Rath

Date of judgment: 20 April 2016

Cases Referred:

Case in Brief: 

The Reserve Bank of India issued an advertisement, vide Annexure-1, in the employment news to fill up the posts of Assistant. Twenty five posts of Assistant were earmarked for Bhubaneswar region out of which, one was reserved for disabled ex-servicemen and three posts for ex-servicemen (normal). The educational qualification for the posts of Assistant was Bachelor's Degree in any discipline with a minimum of 50% marks (pass class for SC/ST/PWD candidates). For ex-servicemen, a candidate should be a graduate from a recognized University or should have passed the matriculation or its equivalent examination of the Armed Forces and rendered at least 15 years of defence service. The selection was to be made on the basis of candidate's performance in the written examination as well as interview. The petitioner being eligible applied for the same. He was the only ex-serviceman candidate and called for the interview. But then, he was not selected. He applied for the information under the RTI Act. The same was provided to him on 17.4.2015, vide Annexure-4, wherein it was indicated that the reservation for ex-servicemen was horizontal and included in the vacancies for various categories. The recruitment of ex-servicemen in each recruitment drive was made taking into consideration the general policy of reservation, wherein the upper ceiling is 50%. The select list of the Assistants of the year 2014 annexed thereto indicates that the general candidates who had secured 189 marks had been selected. Pursuant to his complaint dated 12.1.2015, he got an e-mail message, vide Annexure-5, wherein it is stated that the reservation for ex-servicemen was horizontal and included in the vacancies of various categories. Since ex-servicemen were getting extended relaxation in age, qualification etc., they had to be included in the "select list" of categories (UR/SC/ST/OBC) to which they belonged to, provided, they could be included in such list in the normal course. He made an appeal to the opposite party no.1. While the matter stood thus, he received the letter dated 9.6.2015, vide Annexure-7, which indicates that the marks secured by him were less than the marks scored by last candidate selected in the general category. Therefore, as per the extant policy followed by the bank, he was not selected in the final list. The Bank was guided by the OM 36012/58/92 Estt(SCT) dated 01.12.1994 issued by Government of India. It provides that horizontal reservations cut across vertical reservation (in what was called interlocking reservation) and the persons selected against these reservations had to be placed in the appropriate category. Even after providing for these horizontal reservations, the percentage of reservation in favour of backward class of citizens should remain the same. Thus only those ex- servicemen who qualify in the respective categories were selected. Hence the petition.

The court observed that the cases of persons with disabilities and ex-servicemen are implemented through horizontal reservation system and the principle of horizontal reservation has been succinctly stated in Indra Sawhney Vs. Union ofIndia, 1992 Supp. (3) SCC 217. In paragraph 95, the apex Court held thus: 
"95. ....all reservations are not of the same nature. There are two types of reservations, which may, for the sake of convenience, be referred to as 'vertical reservations' and 'horizontal reservations'. The reservations in favour of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes [under Article 16(4)] may be called vertical reservations whereas reservations in favour of physically handicapped [under Clause (1) of Article 16] can be referred to as horizontal reservations. Horizontal reservations cut across the vertical reservations - what is called interlocking reservations. To be more precise, suppose 3% of the vacancies are reserved in favour of physically handicapped persons; this would be a reservation relatable to Clause (1) of Article 16. The persons selected against this quota will be placed in the appropriate category; if he belongs to S.C. category he will be placed in that quota by making necessary adjustments; similarly, if he belongs to open competition (O.C.) category, he will be placed in that category by making necessary adjustments. Even after providing for these horizontal reservations, the percentage of reservations in favour of backward class of citizens remains - and should remain - the same."
The court further observed that on a survey of earlier decisions, the Supreme Court in the case of Rajesh Kumar Daria v. Rajasthan Public Service, AIR 2007 SC 2137 enumerated the principle of horizontal reservation and the manner of filling up the vacancies. This applies to the case of petitioner.

The court concluded that the petitioner is the only ex-serviceman candidate. He was selected in the written as well as viva-voce test. He secured 180 marks. His case was denuded on the ground that opposite party no.4 secured 189 marks. The principle enumerated in Rajesh Kumar Daria applies to the reserved category candidates (horizontal reservation) belonging to ex-servicemen. Since the petitioner was the only ex-serviceman candidate and selected, he ought to have been selected by deleting the corresponding number of candidates from the bottom of such list relating to other ex- serviceman so as to ensure that the final ex-serviceman candidate contains one ex-serviceman candidate.

Read the judgement below: