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Age relaxation for SC, STs if rules permit: SC

SCs and STs cannot be granted age relaxation in jobs if the statutory rules do not provide for such benefits, the Supreme Court has ruled.



New Delhi: Socially backward candidates like
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes cannot be granted age
relaxation in jobs if the statutory rules do not provide for
such benefits, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of justices JM Panchal and HL Gokhale said if
rules do not allow age relaxation, courts are not empowered to
give direction for relaxing it.

"If there is no age relaxation in the rules, the same
cannot be brought in by any judicial interpretation. In the
circumstances we do not find any error in the judgement of the
Single Judge or that of the Division Bench," the apex court
said.

The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the
appeal filed by Jamaluddin, an ad hoc Munsif in Jammu &
Kashmir.

The bench, however, asked the high court to consider on
the administrative side relaxing the rule since such an age
relaxation is provided for in the State`s higher judicial
services.

He was appointed as an ad hoc Munsif in the Jammu &
Kashmir Judicial Service on August 13, 2001. Subsequently, he
applied for the post of Munsif in the ST category when a
notification was issued by the J&K Public Service Commission
on December 4, 2001 for regular appointments.

The notification required the person to be of not more
than 35 years of age as on January one of the year in which
the notification was issued.

Jamaluddin`s application was rejected as he was over aged
by 11 months.

A single judge of the J&K High Court upheld the
Commission`s decision and the Division Bench affirmed it, upon
which he appealed in the apex court.

Jamaluddin`s contention was that the age limit for
entering into government service was upto 38 years for SC,
STs, therefore his application should have been accepted. He
also pointed out that similar age relaxation was granted for
entry into the higher judicial service.

The State, however, defended the rule saying the age
group for the higher judicial service from the general
category was 35 to 45 years, but for SC, STs and OBCs a
relaxation in age of two years was permissible as candidates
from these categories were not easily available for the Higher
Judicial Services.

"We quite appreciate the submission made on behalf of the
appellant, and we quite see that there is some kind of anomaly
in the sense that there is no age relaxation at the level of
Munsifs, though it is so provided at the level of entry into
the Higher Judicial Service," the bench said.

It, however, hastened to add that the high court should
consider relaxing the rule for the Munsif posts too on the
lines of the higher judicial service.

"Although, we are not inclined to interfere with the
order passed by the high court on the judicial side, we do
feel that the high court on its administrative side should
examine the issue as to whether age relaxation should be
provided to the candidates belonging to SC, ST and OBCs
appearing for the Judicial Service Examination at the Munsif
level as is provided to the candidates appearing for the
Higher Judicial Service Examination.

"We hope that this will be done without much delay," the
bench said.

PTI

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