HC quashes job quota for wards of police

Says order based on Jaya’s scheme is ‘unconstitutional’

Updated - April 03, 2018 08:07 am IST

Published - April 03, 2018 01:06 am IST - CHENNAI

The Madras High Court (Madurai bench) has struck down an order of the Tamil Nadu government giving 10% quota in the recruitment to police subordinate services to wards of serving/retired/deceased/medically invalidated police personnel as “unconstitutional”.

The order was issued based on a scheme announced in 2001 by then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who said that it would boost the morale of the police personnel and their loyalty to the force. The GO Ms. No. 834 dated 10/09/2001 was issued formalising the announcement. One per cent of the reservation was earmarked for the wards of ministerial staff in service.

A man whose application to the post of Police Constable (Grade-II) under the quota was rejected since his father had retired from service at the time of his application had moved the court. After his writ petition was dismissed, he filed an appeal.

A bench comprising Justices S.M. Subramaniam and G.R. Swaminathan held that “the provision under which the appellant claimed benefit itself appeared to be unconstitutional.” The Bench said the impugned quota provided for recruitment “on the basis of birth and descent”.

‘Inherent vice’

“There is an inherent vice in the provisions in the recruitment rules enabling such reservation. They are repugnant to Article 16 of the Constitution of India. Opportunity to enter public service should be extended to all citizens equally,” the judges said. Pointing out that sufficient opportunity was given to the government to file their written response, the Bench said the only justification offered by the government was that the reservation would boost the morale and loyalty of the force.

Though the object behind the introduction of the rule could be laudable, it would not take away the vice affecting the character of the rule. Reservation based solely on the grounds of birth and descent was inherently unconstitutional. The Supreme Court had already declared it to be so. “It is true that there was no challenge to the validity of the said rule. But then when an unconstitutional provision happens to come up for consideration, we cannot gloss over the same and proceed as if we have seen nothing amiss. We have taken oath to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India and uphold it,” the judges said.

Declaring the reservation as unconstitutional, the Bench held that the recruitment already made in terms of the reservation would not be affected. “However, in future, the State government shall not resort to the said reservation.”

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