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DJS 2022 | Reserved Category Candidate Can Rectify Bonafide Mistake Of Applying In General Category If No Prejudice Is Caused To Any Person: Delhi HC

Padmakshi Sharma
7 Jun 2022 10:30 AM GMT
DJS 2022 | Reserved Category Candidate Can Rectify Bonafide Mistake Of Applying In General Category If No Prejudice Is Caused To Any Person: Delhi HC
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The Delhi High Court has held that a person of a reserved category, committing a bona fide mistake of applying under General category for an examination should be given an opportunity to rectify the same, so long as their action does not cause prejudice to any person. In this case, the petitioner, who is currently posted as an Additional Civil Judge, Junior Division, Uttar Pradesh...

The Delhi High Court has held that a person of a reserved category, committing a bona fide mistake of applying under General category for an examination should be given an opportunity to rectify the same, so long as their action does not cause prejudice to any person.

In this case, the petitioner, who is currently posted as an Additional Civil Judge, Junior Division, Uttar Pradesh Judicial Services had appeared for the Delhi Judicial Service Preliminary Examination, 2022 as a General Category candidate, instead of a Reserved category (SC) candidate due to a bona fide mistake. Here, had the petitioner been considered as a Reserved Category candidate (SC), she would make the cut off for appearing in the Mains examination as she had secured 119.5 marks, which was above the cut off (115.5 marks) for Reserved Category candidates. However, she did not make the cut off for the General Category which was higher than 119.5.

Thus, the petitioner filed the present petition, praying that directions be issued to the respondent to consider her application for DJS 2022 in the reserved category of Scheduled Caste (SC) instead of the General Category.

The petitioner claimed that while she realised her mistake in applying under the General Category when the admit cards were issued, she did not take any immediate steps to correct the error due to paucity of time. She appeared for the preliminary examination and filed the petition only after discovering that she would make the cut off, if she was considered as a Reserved Category candidate.

The respondents argued that the error committed was entirely on account of the petitioner incorrectly filling her details. It was also pointed out that she had appeared in DJS examination on three prior occasions (examinations held in the year 2017, 2018 and 2019) as a reserved category candidate. She had also cleared the preliminary examination held in the year 2018 as a reserved category candidate. Thus, she was aware of the procedure.

The petitioner relied upon the Rajasthan High Court judgement of Kavita Choudhary v. Registrar (Examination) 2017 SCC OnLine Raj 3612. Here, the court had held that mistakes which do not prejudice any other person, should be permitted to be rectified. While the counsel for petitioner readily accepted the error, he contended that the petitioner should not be penalised at this stage since no prejudice was caused to any other person.

Per contra, the respondent stated that if the petitioner had correctly filled her application form and applied under the reserved category, she would have been placed after the candidate ranked at number 58 in the order of merit. As a result, the two candidates presently at Rank nos. 80 and 81, would not qualify for appearing in the mains examination. Thus, he submitted that since the said candidates were not a party to the petition, they could not be prejudiced.

The bench consisting of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Amit Mahajan held that–

"The limited question that falls for consideration before this Court is whether the petitioner should suffer the consequence of her mistake, which she has admittedly committed, or ought to be given a chance to rectify the same recognised that the petitioner's mistake was a bona fide one and that she derived no benefit from submitting an incorrect application disclosing her category as the general categoryClearly, a person committing a bona fide mistake, which does not cause prejudice to any person, should be given an opportunity to rectify the same."

On the question of causing prejudice to other candidates, the Court opined that –

"This Court finds that there is no prejudice caused to any person and the matter regarding the examination has not proceeded to a stage, which renders it inapposite to correct this mistake…the two candidates, who are now placed at Rank nos. 80 and 81, who would otherwise not have cleared the preliminary examination, cannot be prejudiced."

The petitioner was ordered to submit an undertaking to the respondent requesting the respondent to permit her to rectify the application to disclose her category as an SC category instead of General category and to treat her candidature accordingly. The respondent on receipt of the said application was ordered to process the same and issue admit cards to the petitioner along with other candidates. It was also clarified that the respondent shall also issue admit cards to candidates listed at Rank nos. 80 and 81, who after inclusion of the petitioner, would be ranked at Rank nos. 81 and 82.

Advocates K.C. Mittal, Yugansh Mittal, KPS Shekhawat and Sachin Kaushik appeared for Petitioner.

Advocate Gautam Narayan appeared for Respondent.

Case Title: Charu Kain v. High Court of Delhi

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 551

Coram: Justice Vibhu Bakhru; Justice Amit Mahajan

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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