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Children of Armed Forces Personnel Cannot Be Discriminated against due to Place of Posting of Parents: Supreme Court – News18


The Supreme Court said that cancelling the admission granted to the appellant against the Maharashtra state quota without giving an opportunity to show cause is also illegal and arbitrary and deserves to be quashed and set aside. File pic/PTI

The court directed the Maharashtra government and the college to pay Rs 50,000 each as compensation to petitioner Vansh whose admission to an MBBS course was cancelled in an illegal and arbitrary manner. It also ordered the authorities to grant him admission in the next session and create an additional seat so as to ensure that there is no reduction in the quota of seats for the candidates who succeed in the NEET UG-2024

The Supreme Court has said that no discriminatory and arbitrary treatment can be meted out to the child of a soldier serving on the country’s frontiers. Such a candidate cannot control the place of deployment of his father and this cannot be the choice for the staff, the court said.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai, Rajesh Bindal, and Sandeep Mehta declared that the top court has no hesitation in providing that the candidates who are born in Maharashtra and whose parents are also domicile of the state and are employees of the Government of India or its undertaking would be entitled to a seat under the Maharashtra state quota irrespective of the place of posting of the parents because the place of deployment would not be under the control of the candidate or his parents.

“Mere chance cannot be a valid disqualifying factor. Such rule will not only be arbitrary and unreasonable but will permit discrimination between two classes of servicemen of Maharashtra domicile actually posted at the material time (i) in Maharashtra and (ii) outside Maharashtra. This classification will be clearly invidious having no nexus whatsoever to the object sought to be achieved,” the bench said.

The court directed the Maharashtra government and the college to pay Rs 50,000 each as compensation to petitioner Vansh whose admission to an MBBS course was cancelled in an illegal and arbitrary manner.

It also ordered the authorities to grant him admission in the next session and create an additional seat so as to ensure that there is no reduction in the quota of seats for the candidates who succeed in the NEET UG-2024.

The court also directed that such candidates would be treated as domicile of the state until a suitable rectification is made in the guidelines.

The appellant and his parents were domiciles of Maharashtra. The appellant’s father was serving in the Border Security Force. Owing to the deployment of his father outside the state, the appellant passed his SSC and HSC exams from an institution outside the state.

He had applied for admission under the Other Backward Class/Non-Creamy Layer (OBC/NCL) category as being domicile of the state of Maharashtra. However, without issuing a notice and without providing any opportunity to be heard, the college issued a letter/communication on August 9, 2023, cancelling his admission.

According to Clause 4.8 of the information brochure, there was an exception/relaxation for claiming a seat in the Maharashtra state quota to the children of employees of the Government of India or its undertaking who have passed SSC and/or HSC or equivalent examination outside the state. However, this clause imposed a rider that such an employee of the Government of India or its undertaking being the parent of the candidate “must have been transferred from outside the State of Maharashtra at a place of work, located in the state and also must have reported for duty and must be working as on the last date of document verification at a place in the state”.

The bench held the proviso created a situation that would be impossible for the appellant to surmount.

“The appellant who is a domicile of the State of Maharashtra, cannot control the place of deployment of his father who is serving in the paramilitary force i.e., Border Security Force. Needless to state that the place of deployment cannot be the choice of the employee serving in the armed forces or a paramilitary force. Being the child of a soldier serving on the country’s frontiers, the discriminatory and arbitrary treatment meted out to the appellant under the guidelines cannot be countenanced,” the SC said.

The court held that the division bench of the Bombay High Court at Nagpur while rejecting the writ petition filed by the appellant fell into manifest error in not considering the case of the appellant in the correct perspective. It declared the impugned judgement as unsustainable in facts as well as in law.

The bench said that cancelling the admission granted to the appellant against the Maharashtra state quota without giving an opportunity to show cause is also illegal and arbitrary and deserves to be quashed and set aside.

“Indisputably, the appellant has been illegally deprived from his rightful admission in the first year of the MBBS course owing to the insensitive, unjust, illegal and arbitrary approach of the respondents and so also on account of the delay occasioned in the judicial process,” the bench said.

However, having noted that more than six months have passed by since the session started and no seat was lying vacant in any college in Maharashtra state quota as of date, the bench said that it would neither be desirable nor justifiable to grant admission to the appellant in the on-going session of the MBBS (UG) course.

Therefore, the bench said the appellant was entitled to restoration of his seat in the first year of the MBBS course in the same college in the next session, i.e., NEET UG-2024 as a measure of restitutive relief.



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