Benefit of reservation must reach to deserving candidate in category: DB
JAMMU, Sept 15: Deciding several core issues pertaining to the implementation of J&K Reservation Act and Rules by the Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE), a Division Bench of the Common High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal has held that benefit of reservation must reach to the deserving candidate in the category and is not eaten away by a candidate of reserved category, who has equal or better merit than that of candidate last admitted in the professional course in the general category.
The DB was dealing with an appeal filed by UT of J&K through Chairman J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examination against the judgment of Writ Court dated June 27, 2022 whereby the BOPEE was directed to keep one seat of MDS (Master of Dental Surgery) reserved in the next session in the discipline to which the petitioner was entitled to in the instant admission but was not granted because of fault attributable exclusively to the BOPEE.
Further, the Writ Court had directed that the BOPEE shall do well to set the discipline apart and not to make it part of selection or admission of MDS Course-2022.
The grievance projected by the petitioner before the Writ Court was that in terms of the impugned selection list of NEET-MDS 2021, the BOPEE has filled up only 41 seats by selection of equal number of candidates for different specialties of MDS courses, but in doing so, the official respondents have not given 2% reservation earmarked for Children of Defence Personnel/Military Forces and J&K Police Personnel Category.
It was further pleaded that out of 42 seats notified for admission, one seat was allocable to the category of CDP/JKPM. However, no candidate from this category was selected, therefore, the mandate of reservation provided under the J&K Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules was violated.
The judgment was challenged by BOPEE on the ground that Writ Court has interpreted Rule 17 in a different way than implemented by the appellants since inception of the J&K Reservation Rules, 2005 read with SRO 49 dated 30.01.2018 followed by SRO 165 dated 08.03.2019.
It was further pleaded that the candidate namely Dr Rasiq Mansoor having UT rank 5 belonging to JKPM/CDP, otherwise falling in open merit category, had given only one choice while appearing for the counselling for the course and he got selected for the said discipline/course on the basis of merit-cum-choice, as the seat which he opted for, was available only in his respective category— JKPM/CDP and was not available in open merit.
During the course of hearing, four core issues were discussed by the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice and accordingly the same were decided. “The principle underlying the provision of Section 10 is manifestly clear that the benefit of reservation must reach to the deserving candidate in the category and is not eaten away or affected by a candidate of reserved category, who on the strength of his merit, has equal or better merit than the merit of the candidate last admitted in the professional course in the general category”, the DB said.