New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that
reserved candidates like SCs, STs, OBCs can be provided age
relaxation and fee concession for selection in government jobs
under general category even after the reserved quota has been
However, such relaxation can be extended provided the
reserved candidates secured competing or more marks with the
general candidates in preliminary or qualifying exams for
The apex court said such relaxation cannot be termed as
violative of the constitutional provisions of equality or the
norm that reservations in general should not exceed the 50 percent quota fixed by it in the Indra Sawhney case.
"Reservations are a mode to achieve the equality of
opportunity guaranteed under Article 16 (1) of the
Constitution of India. Concessions and relaxations in fee or
age provided to the reserved category candidates to enable
them to compete and seek benefit of reservation is merely an
aid to reservation.
"The concessions and relaxations place the candidates
at par with general category candidates. It is only thereafter
that the merit of the candidates is to be determined without
any further concessions in favour of the reserved category
candidates," a bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and Surinder
Singh Nijjar said in a judgement.
The apex court passed the judgement while upholding the
validity of the selection process conducted by Uttar Pradesh
government in 2000 for recruitment of police sub inspectors.
In the selection process, the government had permitted
reserved candidates to appear for selection in general
category by permitting them to avail age relaxation.
However, the move was opposed by general category
candidates on the ground that they cannot enjoy double benefit
as they have already been granted fee and age relaxation in
reserved candidates’ category.
The Allahabad High Court had upheld the government`s
action, after which the aggrieved general candidates had
appealed in the apex court.
Dismissing the appeal, the apex court said reserved
category candidates have not been given any advantage in the
selection process as all the candidates had to appear in the
same written test and face the same interview which is decided
on the basis of merit.