To Err Is Human: Karnataka HC Grants Relief To SC Category Candidate Who Wrongly Submitted KPSC Job Application Under ST Category

Update: 2023-02-07 10:12 GMT

The Karnataka High Court has directed the Karnataka Public Service Commision to rectify the error made by a job applicant who had wrongly filled the application form under the Scheduled Tribe category instead of Scheduled Caste to which he belongs and regulate the provisional/final select list in accordance with his merit.

A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna while allowing the petition filed by one Hemanthkumar N, turned down the contention of the respondents that the order would open Pandora’s box and become a precedent.

It said,

If this order opens up Pandora’s box; so be it, if it becomes a precedent; so be that. This Court would not turn a deaf ear to a cry of a Scheduled Caste candidate who has scored high marks, despite the trials and tribulations throughout that they face to lose the opportunity of getting selected for trivial reasons.

Further it said “The Commission ought to have corrected the trivial human error when the petitioner pointed it out at the time of document verification. Having not done so, the Commission cannot now contend that this order would open up Pandora’s box or become a precedent. It cannot be forgotten that, “to err is human”, infallibility is unknown to humanity.

The Commission issued a Notification on 29-02-2020, inviting applications for the post of Junior Assistant/ Second Division Assistant in the Resident Parent Cadre. The petitioner claims to have got the application typed at a cyber centre and while filling the application under the category column he filled it as Scheduled Tribe instead of Scheduled Caste. The application got uploaded online showing the petitioner as belonging to Scheduled Tribe instead of Scheduled Caste to which he actually belongs.

Noticing the error, he made efforts to change the category online on 15-07-2021 and claimed that the change was approved on the website. Thinking that he was a participant under the Scheduled Caste category, the petitioner participated in the written test which was held on 19-09-2021.

After the notification of the merit list, the petitioner was called for document verification on 8.09.1922. It was then the petitioner got to know that his category has not been changed and the error that had crept in online on 20.03.2020 had become part of the record.

He filed an affidavit before the Commission bringing to its notice that it was an error committed by the cyber centre but he does belong to Scheduled Caste and a certificate was issued to him way back in the year 2013 certifying his caste. The Commission refused to accept the change.

Following which he approached the Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which requested the 2nd respondent/Commission to consider the case of the petitioner. The petitioner then represented on 17-09- 2022 and 23-09-2022 with regard to the correction of error. All these did not yield any result. A provisional select list was notified on 25-11-2022 and the name of the petitioner did not figure in the said list ostensibly for the reason that the petitioner was treated as belonging to Scheduled Tribe and the posts reserved for Scheduled Tribe were minimal. Thus he approached the High Court.

The respondents opposed the plea saying that candidates are bound by what they have filled up in the application by which they would either survive or perish. "The Commission cannot look into every case where errors have crept in. It is for the candidates to be diligent while filling up the application and the Commission cannot be responsible for any such error and seeks dismissal of the petition.


On going through the records the bench said “It is not in dispute that the petitioner is a Scheduled Caste. Mere error in filling up an application will not change his caste status. During the time of document verification, the petitioner had submitted his caste certificate depicting to be Scheduled Caste. The Commission could have corrected the error at that time.

Further it added “This human error is glorified by the Commission by declining to accede to the request for change of category at the time of document verification.

Noting that the petitioner has secured high marks and would definitely come within the zone of consideration, if he was treated as a Scheduled Caste candidate. The bench said “The glorification of a trivial human error has resulted in loss of appointment to the petitioner, a Scheduled Caste candidate.

It then opined “A triviality cannot take away the right of a Scheduled Caste candidate for consideration of his case as a candidate belonging to Scheduled Caste.

Accordingly it allowed the petition.

Case Title: Hemanthkumar N And State of Karnataka & ANR

Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 24847 OF 2022

Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 45

Date of Order: 31-01-2023

Appearance: Advocate Bola Vedvyas Shenoy For petitioner.

AGA Shwetha Krishnappa for R1.

Advocate K M Prakash FOR R2.

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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