Merit seat reserved for women can be given to men: Court

If requisite merit is not available for the seats reserved for women, the seat can be given to male candidates, the Gujarat High Court has ruled.

 Justice Jayant Patel and Justice J.C. Upadhayaya has ruled that reservation for women is horizontal and not vertical.

 ‘In respect of seats for women, the merit will be at par with the male candidates. Under these circumstances, if the requisite merit is not available, the conversion of posts, reserved for women, in the respective category cannot be said to be arbitrary,’ the court noted in an order made available Wednesday.

 The court ruling came on a petition by Ruksana Ahmedkhan Nagori challenging a single bench order which rejected her plea regarding the test she took for a government job.

 The division bench rejected the petitioner’s counsel Gunvant Thakkar’s contention that when a post was reserved for female candidates for the purpose of selection, the select-list was required to be prepared accordingly.

 He contended that the seats of the women candidates remained unfilled and the government converted these posts for male candidates, which was arbitrary.

 Thakkar said Nagori had good marks in the written test, but not in the viva voce (oral interview) and special reasons have to be mentioned for the same. Since no reason was given, the action of the authorities was illegal.

The court said it cannot order for reassessment unless bias or prejudice is alleged with cogent reliable material and that there was no allegation of any bias or prejudice in the petition.

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