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SC seal on UPSC quota rule

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By OUR LEGAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 8.05.10
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New Delhi, May 7: The Supreme Court today upheld a UPSC rule that allows reserved category civil service candidates on the merit list — those who don’t avail of the quotas — to migrate to the reserved pool to get a better service cadre.

Several candidates who had cleared the test on the basis of quotas had challenged the 2004 rule, saying it hurt their standing. Others had objected to the UPSC giving them at the time of service selection an option given up in the exam.

A five-judge bench headed by outgoing Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan set aside a Madras High Court ruling striking down the provision and upheld its validity. The rule had governed recruitment from 2005 to 2007.

The UPSC conducts an all India test every year to make recruitment to the three All-India Services (IAS, IFS, IPS), fifteen Group ‘A’ Services and three Group ‘B’ officers in various government departments.

Under the rule, candidates belonging to the SCs, STs or OBCs may be adjusted at time of service allocation against reserved vacancies by the government if they get a service of higher choice in the order of preference. This was done by the UPSC to maintain inter se merit between reserved category candidates.

In the absence of such an arrangement, those reserved category students who did not exercise the option of availing the concession would get inferior cadres than those who had taken the benefit.

A few OBC candidates had filed applications before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras, challenging the option, introduced through an amendment by the UPSC. They contended that such migration had knocked them out of the list.