The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday said that employment in government service could not be denied on the sole ground of delay in submitting documents such as community certificates.

A Division Bench comprising Justice D. Murugesan and Justice S. Nagamuthu made the observation while refusing to entertain a writ appeal filed by the Secretary of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC).

The appeal was directed against an order passed by a single judge on August 6, 2008 to accept the community certificate submitted belatedly by a Scheduled Tribe woman candidate for the post of Village Administrative Officer.

Finding no fault with the single judge’s decision, Mr. Justice Murugesan said that the failure to submit the community certificate within the time limit prescribed by TNPSC was only a procedural lacuna which could be rectified.

"It is a curable defect. If you are going to deny employment on the sole ground of delay, it would defeat the very purpose of reservation for various communities in government employment," he told the counsel for TNPSC.

In the present case, M. Chitra from Valliyoor in Tirunelveli district said that she was selected provisionally after clearing a written examination conducted by TNPSC on June 10, 2007. But she could not submit her community certificate at the time of verification on October 30, 2007.

The 27-year-old woman made a representation seeking time to submit the certificate. Subsequently, she urged the Cheranmahadevi Revenue Divisional Officer to expeditiously dispose of her application filed in 1997 seeking community certificate.

The certificate issued by the RDO on November 21, 2007 was submitted to the TNPSC two days later. However, the Commission issued an order on June 11, 2008 cancelling her provisional selection for not submitting the certificate on time.

Stating that her brother was issued with the community certificate as early as 2003 itself, the woman said that she could not be denied employment for the delay on the part of the revenue authorities in issuing her certificate.

More In: Madurai