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Allahabad High Court denies relief to UPPSC aspirant who chose wrong caste category

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The Allahabad High Court has observed that once the UPPSC is not at fault and its action not arbitrary, there is no occasion for the High Court to interfere in such matter by permitting the candidate to appear in the Main Examination, who has admittedly not followed the instruction so given in advertisement.

A single-judge bench of Justice Neeraj Tiwari heard the petition filed by Vaishali Dwivedi.

The petition has been filed with the following prayers:-

“(i) A writ order or directing in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondent-authorities of the UP Public Service Commission (UPPSC), Prayagraj to permit the petitioner to make necessary corrections in the application form as General Category (UR) in place of SC category.”

(ii) A writ, order or directing in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondent-authorities of the UPPSC, Prayagraj to issue admit card in favour of the petitioner for appearing in the mains combined State/Upper Subordinate Services Examination, 2022 which is going to be held on 27.9.2022.”

Senior Counsel submitted that UP Public Service Commission, Prayagraj has issued advertisement on 16.3.2022 inviting the application form for selection on the different posts of State Services by conducting Combined State/Upper Subordinate Services Examination, 2022.

He next submitted that petitioner belongs to General Category, but by mistake she filled up her form under the SC category and also appeared in the said examination. She was declared successful in the Preliminary Examination under SC category though she obtained more marks than the minimum cutoff marks for the General Category Candidate.

He further submitted that after knowing about her mistake, she had written an application to the Commission to correct her category from SC category to General category, but the same was not considered by the Commission and her candidature was rejected.

Senior Counsel submitted that he is assailing the action of Commission on two grounds. Firstly, the Commission has published notice dated 22.4.2022 permitting the candidates to remove the deficiency with regard to photographs and signatures, if any.

He also submitted that action of Commission is arbitrary as once the candidates have been granted an opportunity to remove the deficiencies, that should have been granted for all deficiencies and should not be confined only for two. Therefore, it is required on the part of the Commission to accept her request and change her candidature from SC category to General category.

Secondly, he submitted that once the petitioner has informed that she does not belong to SC category, her result should have been reconsidered and in case, she has obtained more marks than the minimum cutoff marks fixed for General Category, her result should have been declared under the category of General Candidates.

He submitted that petitioner filled up her form on the last date, therefore, she could not avail the facility provided under the para 4 of the advertisement.

He lastly submitted that by the change of category, he will not be benefited in any way, therefore, her mistake has to be taken bonafide and action taken by the UPPSC is bad. The petitioners should be permitted to appear in the Main Examination.

UPPSC counsel M.N. Singh opposed the submission of the counsel for the petitioner and submitted that in paragraph 4 & 14(2) of the advertisement dated 16.3.2022, it is clearly mentioned that in case of any mistake while filling up the online application form, candidates may correct the same within the last date of submission of form.

He next submitted that paragraph 14(2) of the said advertisement clearly provides that in case of a change of category, no application for error correction/modification shall be acceptable. It also says that on submission of false/misleading information, the candidature will be cancelled.

The UPPSC counsel further submitted that notice dated 22.4.2022 is very much clear, which permits only for removal of deficiency with regard to photograph and signatures. In case, petitioner is aggrieved with the same, it is required on her part to challenge the same, which has never been challenged, therefore, she cannot be given any benefit as argued by the counsel for the petitioner.

So far as the second submission of the counsel for the petitioner is concerned, he submitted that as per policy decision of Commission, benefit of reservation is extended only at the stage of preparation of final result. He further clarified that results of Preliminary and Main Examinations are declared under the category mentioned by the Candidates in its application form and verification of record is only done at the time of appearance in the interview. Therefore, in light of para 4 & 14(2) of the advertisement dated 16.3.2022, category of petitioner cannot be changed and further his candidature has rightly been rejected.

The Court said,

Facts of the case are undisputed by the parties. Paragraph 4 & 14(2) of the advertisement dated 16.3.2022 have provision to deal with such controversy.

From perusal of the same, it is apparently clear that she was having opportunity to correct her application form including category, but she has not availed the same. Further, paragraph 14(2) of said advertisement is very specific in nature, which clearly says that on submission of false/misleading information, the candidature will be cancelled and undisputedly, information so provided by the petitioner in her application form is false.

So far as the second argument of the counsel for the petitioner about the change of category from SC category to General Category on the basis of marks obtained in Preliminary Examination is concerned, that is also having no force. There is no dispute between the parties that the benefit of reservation is given only at the stage of final results prepared after the interview. Results of Preliminary and Main Examinations of all candidates are declared only under the category, which is mentioned by the candidates.

Further, it is undisputed that petitioner has not challenged the notice dated 22.4.2022 before the Court, therefore, she cannot be given any benefit as claimed by her. It is within the domain of Commission to grant relaxation, which shall attain finality, if not challenged by the aggrieved person.

The Court has perused the judgment of the Court in the matter of Prashant Kumar Dwivedi (supra) so relied by the counsel for the petitioner. From perusal of the same, it is clear that controversy in the said judgment is entirely different on facts. In that case, candidates are required to submit certificates duly countersigned by the Principal/ Manager/Registrar and Joint Director of Education of the Mandal concerned and those certificates submitted by the petitioners were not countersigned by the authorities. Commission has granted extra time to such candidates to file certificates duly countersigned by the authorities mentioned hereinabove. The action of Commission was under challenge and ultimately Court has dismissed the writ petition, therefore, the judgment will not help the petitioner in the case.

The Court has also perused the judgment of the Court in the case of Prabhakar Mani Tripathi (Supra) relied on by the counsel for the Commission. In the said judgment, the very same dispute was in question about the change of category and the Court after considering the facts of the case, dismissed the writ petition order dated 21.11.2019.

The Court held that, in light of such factual position as well as law pronounced by the Courts on different occasions, this Court is of the firm view that once the instructions are mentioned in the advertisement, it is required on the part of the candidate to follow the same. In case of failure for any reason on the part of candidates, cannot be a ground to grant any relief. In fact, interference at this stage by the Court would be the opening of the Pandora’s Box, which may derail the complete examination process causing irreparable loss to the candidates, who have followed terms and conditions of advertisement, while submitting the application form. Once the Commission is not at fault and action of Commission is not arbitrary, there is no occasion for this Court to interfere in such matter by permitting the candidate to appear in the Main Examination, who has admittedly not followed the instruction so given in advertisement.

“So far as present case is concerned, petitioner, though having full opportunity, has not followed the instruction given in the advertisement dated 16.3.2022 to correct his category from SC to General, therefore, she is not entitled for any relief and her candidature has rightly been rejected,” the Court observed while dismissing the petition.

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