The Gujarat High Court ruled that the persons having availed the relaxations available to scheduled caste can not claim to be considered in the general category on the basis of merit subsequently for the same post.
Out of 767 posts for assistants in lower courts advertised by the High court, a list of 525 candidates was drawn in February 2020. There are 121 vacant seats each under the general and ST categories.
In a reversal of sort, indicative of social changes over several decades, the cut-off mark for the scheduled caste category was 61 marks whereas it was 52 marks for the general category.
It means that the candidates selected in the schedule caste categories had all secured at least 61 marks or more, whereas, in the general category, one had to secure 52 or more marks to get the seat.
Yet, all the seats marked under the SC quota were filled and there were 242 seats remaining vacant with 121 each in the general category and ST quota due to candidates not securing minimum cut-off marks.
122 scheduled caste candidates who had secured between 51 and 61 marks and could not get the appointment due to high cut-off marks in the scheduled caste category had approached the High court pleading to be accommodated on the vacant seats in the general category and ST category with the contention that they have secured more marks.
Justice Biren Vaishnav of Gujarat High court rejected the plea concurring with the view of High Court counsel that a person applying under the Schedules caste category avails the benefits of relaxed eligibility criteria and hence can not subsequently claim the benefit of another category.
It should however be understood that if a person from the scheduled caste category opts not to avail relaxations and competes in the open category from the beginning, the issue is different.