The Weekly Obiter

SC DECLARES RESTRICTION ON LDCE AS VIOLATIVE OF ARTICLE 14 & 16 OF CONSTITUTION OF INDIA: NOVEMBER 03, 2017

November 14, 2017

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter bearing Civil Appeal No. 17974 of 2017 titled as “Maharashtra Forest Guards and Foresters Union Versus The State of Maharashtra & Ors” dealt with the issue, as to, “Whether the restriction introduced on the basis of educational qualification for participating in a Limited Departmental Competitive Examination (hereinafter referred to as “LDCE”) violates Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India”.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India while allowing the present appeal held that, the whole purpose of the LDCE is to encourage and facilitate the Forest Guards to get accelerated promotion on the basis of merit. Since seniority is the criterion for promotion to three-fourth of the posts, one-fourth is given a chance to compete in a competitive examination. It also observed that there is no quota prescribed on the basis of higher educational qualification. It further observed that the LDCE is meant for selection for promotion from the entire lot of Forest Guards irrespective of seniority but subject to minimum five years of service and hence, in that situation, introducing an additional restriction of graduation for participation in the LDCE without there being any quota reserved for graduates will be discriminatory and violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India since it creates a class within a class. The merit of the 25 per cent cannot be prejudged by a sub-classification. It violates the equality and equal opportunity guarantees. The Forest Guards, irrespective of educational qualifications, having formed one class for the purpose of participation in the LDCE, a further classification between graduates and non-graduates for participating in the LDCE is unreasonable. It is a case of equals being treated unequally. 

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