The Madurai Bench held that a single judge of the High Court too had "erred" in holding that a Scheduled Caste candidate could not be appointed in OC category.

Vacancies for government jobs under Open Category (OC) should be filled with meritorious candidates irrespective of their caste, and there is no bar in appointing a Scheduled Caste or other such candidate under the OC category, the Madras High Court Bench here has held.

A Division Bench comprising Justice R. Sudhakar and Justice S. Vaidyanathan passed the ruling while allowing a 2012 writ appeal filed by a Scheduled Caste candidate who was denied the job of a watchman on the grounds that it fell under the OC category as per communal roster.

The Bench held that a single judge of the High Court too had “erred” in holding that a Scheduled Caste candidate could not be appointed in OC category. “There is no reservation in the Open Category. All eligible persons can be considered. The approach of the learned single judge is not correct,” it said.

Writing the judgement for the Bench, Mr.Justice Vaidyanathan said the single judge was right in holding that OC category was meant only for meritorious candidates but wrong in stating that candidates belonging to socially backward classes could not be considered under the category.

The judges directed the Commissioner of Agricultural Marketing and Agricultural Business to appoint the appellant, P. Rajkumar, as a watchman in Tiruchi Marketing Committee, forthwith.

The appellant’s counsel K. Vellaiswamy pointed out that his client was selected for the post of watchman in 2011 after his name was sponsored by the Employment Exchange in 2010. But the officials, suddenly, refused to issue an appointment order since he belonged to a Scheduled Caste.

When he filed a writ petition challenging their refusal, the Commissioner submitted that the Employment Exchange had wrongly sponsored the name of a Scheduled Caste candidate for a post earmarked under the OC category.

Accepting the submission, the single judge dismissed the writ petition on October 3, 2012, and hence the present writ appeal.