NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that general category candidates who crack competitive exams and get waitlisted cannot be accommodated against seats belonging to the reserved category even if these are lying vacant. The merit list for general category is just for that category, the court has held in its fresh intervention in the "merit-versus-social justice" debate.
The ruling came in a case relating to appointment of district judges in the Delhi Judicial Services. It was alleged by aggrieved candidates that after filling up the 13 posts notified for the general category, there were vacancies in the reserved category posts which were not filled and hence those on the top of the merit-cum-wait list be considered for the same.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan rejected the petitions, saying it would be patently illegal to appoint persons in excess of the notified vacancies.
"Any appointment made beyond the number of vacancies advertised is without jurisdiction, being violative of Articles 14 and 16(1) of the Constitution, thus a nullity, inexecutable and unenforceable in law," said Justice Chauhan, writing the judgment for the Bench.
"In case the vacancies notified stands filled up, process of selection comes to an end. Waiting list etc cannot be used as a reservoir, to fill up the vacancies which come into existence after the issuance of notification or advertisement," the Bench said.
In the case in hand, only 13 vacancies for general category were advertised, hence once that was filled up, there was no scope for looking at the wait list for filling any vacancy arising in the reserved category or otherwise, the Bench said. "The unexhausted select list is meant to be consigned to record room," it said.
The Bench accepted the arguments of senior advocate A Mariarputham, who appeared for the HC. He said, "thirteen vacancies of general category were advertised: the same had been filled up according to merit, therefore, selection process in that respect stood exhausted."
The HC had issued an advertisement on May 19, 2007, for 20 posts of district judges of which 13 were for general category, three for SCs and four for STs. All 13 general posts were filled up, but two posts reserved for SCs and four posts meant for STs could not be filled up due to non-availability of suitable candidates.