Restriction on disabled OBC candidates held as arbitrary by Madras High Court
An orthopaedic-disabled Other Backward Classes (OBC) candidate appeared in the civil services preliminary examination for the eighth time in the examination conducted during 2007 and for the ninth time the next year. On not finding his name in the list of successful candidates who had cleared the preliminary examination, he filed an application under the RTI Act. He was informed that as he had already exhausted the maximum permissible seven attempts, he was not considered. He challenged the notification of December 2007 issued in respect of civil services examination, 2008 before the CAT, Chennai along with a petition seeking to condone the delay which was dismissed by the CAT without going into its merits. He filed a writ petition before the Madras High Court.
A Division Bench of Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N. Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court has held that the maximum number of attempts (seven) fixed for physically challenged persons in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in the civil services examination is arbitrary as the disabled in the general category are also allowed seven attempts while there is no restriction for the disabled belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The bench ruled that restricting the number of attempts to seven in respect of such candidates in the OBC community was a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
In the general category, the number of attempts had been increased from four to seven in respect of physically challenged candidates and the non-increase in the number of attempts in respect of physically challenged candidates belonging to OBC proportionately to the number in the general category was arbitrary and prejudicial to the interests of physically challenged persons belonging to OBC.