Should OBC Treated at Par with SC/ST, Apex Court Asks UPSC

A petition filed in the Supreme Court has asked when a candidate belonging to general category gets only four chances to pass muster in the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Services Commission, why should candidates belonging to SC, ST and OBC categories be given seven attempts.

Counsel ML Lahoty, appearing for petitioner Aditya Kumar, contended before a bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph that the current practice clearly does not conform to the fundamental right to equality.

However, bench declined to examine the constitutionality of the additional chances given to SC and ST candidates, it issued notice to UPSC whether OBC candidates should be treated at par with SC/ST candidates.

It may be mentioned that the Delhi High Court had dismissed Kumar’s petition on the ground that the additional number of chances given to backward classes could not be faulted as the very object of Article 16(4) of the Constitution was to ensure equal opportunity in matters of public employment and give adequate representation to those who had been disadvantaged from time immemorial on account of sociological reasons.

The petitioner questioned the HC judgment and said the differentiation sought to be made between general candidates and backward class candidates defied reasonable logic.

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