Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Union of India v. Ramesh Ram: Brief notes on oral arguments in Supreme Court (August 18)

The case is about the constitutionality of permitting reserved category candidates selected under general (merit) list by virtue of their good performance to migrate to reserved category for the purpose of allocation of services. Those who are aggrieved by this rule include the reserved category candidates selected under the quota, who stand to lose the best service allocation because of the migration, and the general category candidates who lose out because the reserved category candidates were not adjusted in the reserved category at the time of ranking, because of their good performance in the examination.

The following are some extracts from oral arguments advanced by the Solicitor General, Gopal Subramanian:

This is a fight between reserved candidates with higher marks and the reserved candidates with lower marks. The UPSC Rule 16 (2) which favours migration of reserved category candidates from the merit list to the quota for the purpose of service allocation, also favours the meritorious within the general category. Migration is a right available to a reserved category candidate, who may choose to avail it.

Justice Raveendran: If migration is not allowed, reserved category candidates may choose to perform poorly in the competitive examination, so that they do not get selected under the general merit list.

GS: Migration aims to bestow the benefits of reservation, based on higher marks; therefore, it is commendable. It seeks to achieve a nexus between the candidates' performance and what is being offered to them. It is an incentive to the reserved category candidates to work hard and achieve quality. It assures the reserved category candidates that if they perform well, they won't lose the benefits of reservation at the time of service allocation.

Justice Kapadia: Why can't you give more marks within the general category to those reserved category candidates so that they need not migrate.

GS: We are dealing with substantive equality. We seek to achieve the object of reservation by rewarding those who succeeded in making it to the general list through sheer merit.
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