4 July 2023 5:51 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the decision to give higher priority to the wards of ex-servicemen than the wards of serving personnel under the Army quota of 5% for admission to various CollegesAccording to the 2018 Union Government order, Priority VI is assigned to Wards of Ex-Servicemen and Priority VIII to Wards of Serving Personnel. Challenging the priority,...
The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the decision to give higher priority to the wards of ex-servicemen than the wards of serving personnel under the Army quota of 5% for admission to various Colleges
According to the 2018 Union Government order, Priority VI is assigned to Wards of Ex-Servicemen and Priority VIII to Wards of Serving Personnel. Challenging the priority, the husband of a Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Army argued that there is no intelligible differentia for placing the wards of serving personnel in a category below the wards of ex-servicemen.
“The Horizontal utilization of reservation quota is essentially determined by the Government Order F.No.6(1)/2017/D(Res.II) dated 21.05.2018. No arbitrariness or mala fide has been brought forth in the said policy. We do not find any ground to interfere with the Government Order dated 21.05.2018 or to reshuffle the Priority categories as provided therein,” the Justice Neena Bansal Krishna and Justice Suresh Kumar Kait ruled, adding it is not as if the wards of serving personnel have been denied the benefit of reservations to the benefit of wards of ex- servicemen.
The court also said it is a policy decision taken by union Ministry of Defence to define the manner in which the reservations by the wards of Army personnel in different categories shall be availed. There is neither any arbitrariness, unreasonableness or mala fide brought forth in the categorization of the wards in Priority VI and Priority VIII it observed.
The grievance of the petitioner was that while considering the reservation in the prescribed categories, the wards of Ex-Servicemen who fall in Priority VI practically take away the reserved categories despite having scored better ranking, leaving very few seats for the wards of serving personnel.
According to the petitioner, there is no intelligible differentia for placing the wards of serving personnel in a category below the wards of ex-servicemen. It was argued that while ex-servicemen have retired from their services and are no longer serving the nation, they are still receiving pensions and other benefits that are equal to those enjoyed by the serving personnel.
It was further contended that the serving personnel are continuing to face the hardships of service which percolate to their wards as on account of their service contingencies and that the parents are not able to be equally involved in the education of the wards.
The court said the entire scheme of Priority list shows that the benefit of reservations was essentially intended for the widows and wards of defence personnel who have either been killed or boarded out on account of disability attributable to military services.
The court addressed the question which had been raised by the petitioner that when wards and wives of ex-servicemen as well as serving personnel who are in receipt of Gallantry Awards, can be placed together in one category, be in Priority V or Priority VII, then there is no reason for placing the wards of serving personnel in the last but one category.
It noted that Centre had explained in the affidavit that, “essentially the Government of India had taken a decision to give the benefit to the wives and wards of ex-servicemen or Gallantry Award holders, but in the scheme of things, it was found that some vacancies still remained vacant after giving the benefit to the wards of all the categories. It is only to ensure that the benefit of reservation is fully utilized and exhausted and does not go unutilized that the category of wards of serving personnel has been added as Priority VIII.”
While dismissing the plea, the court said, “The classification has been done and the wards of serving personnel have been included even though in Priority VIII only to ensure that the benefit of 5% reservation on the whole is availed enures to the benefit to the wards of Armed Forces Personnel.”
Case Title: Viney Chaudhary v. Union Of India & Ors.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 544
Advocates Vijay Singh, Ashwani Kumar & Garima Verma for the. petitioner.
Anil Soni, CGSC with Archana Surve, Govt. Pleader & Ms. Priya Singh, Advocate for R-1/UOI.
Santosh Kumar Tripathi, Standing Counsel, GNCTD with Advocate Kartik Sharma for R-2.
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