When two women candidates — Sonam Tomar and Reeta Rani — belonging to the OBC and SC female categories respectively, who had taken the exam for selection of constables in Uttar Pradesh in 2013 realised they had performed and scored better than the women who were selected from the general category, they decided to approach the court with their grievance. They had filed a petition for not being considered for the posts meant for general category women candidates. Both the women have finally been served justice, with the Supreme Court ruling that candidates belonging to the reserved category are eligible for vacancies in the general/open category also.
The Court ruled that “All candidates coming from ‘OBC Female Category’ who had secured more than 274.8928 marks — the marks secured by the last candidate appointed in ‘General Category-Female’ — must be offered employment as constables in Uttar Pradesh.
According to SC, candidates from the reserved categories, such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes (SCs, STs, and OBCs) can be appointed under open or general category, provided they qualify on their own merit. The selection of such candidates cannot be counted against the quota reserved for the categories for vertical reservation that they belong to.
The Supreme Court does not approve of the stance taken by certain High Courts that candidates from reserved categories should be adjusted only against their own categories under the respective vertical reservation and not against the open or general categories.
Many high courts had different views in this regard when it came to filling the quota under horizontal reservations meant for women, persons with disabilities, dependants of freedom fighters and former defence personnel.