MUMBAI: In a significant order, Bombay high court on Thursday on a petition filed by two orphans from the open category restrained, till July 14, any appointments to Tehsildar and Naib tehsildar posts. Adjourning the petition to next week, the HC said, “In the meantime, appointment letter shall notbe issued by Maharashtra government to any of the candidates” as recommended in results declared on June 19 by Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC).
The two orphan category candidates had moved the HC against the “excessive reservation’’ for backward category in the MPSC selection for the post of Tehsildars.
The petitioners, through Parinam Law Associates, sought enforcement of a 1 percent reservation to orphans in open category for education and jobs. They appeared for MPSC examinations last July.
The state had created a quota in April 2018 to help ‘casteless’ orphans, who are placed in open category.
The MPSC had selected 77 candidates for the post of Tehsildar of whom 74 candidates belong to reserved categories (Other Backward Category, Socially and Educationally Backward Category, Nomadic Tribe, SBC), amounting to 96% reservation, in absolute violation of the principle that reservation cannot exceed 50% of all available posts, laid down by the Supreme Court, advocate Abhinav Chandrachud submitted before a bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and V G Bisht.
Tehsildars are key officers in the revenue administration. Their duties include collection of land revenue, executing attachment orders and conducting sale of land too.
The SC did say that the 50 percent rule, in some cases, can be breached if state has quantifiable data to show the necessity to exceed. But their case is that here the state has no such data to justify a 96 percent reservation for Tehsildars and almost 94 percent for Naib Tehsildars (106 out of 113 posts).
The duo want one seat reserved, after six candidates from their category were apparently found ineligible. Not among the six, they said they possess the ‘eligibility certificate’ to prove they are orphans and contend that instead of interviewing them and others on a waiting list, MPSC allotted the seat to SEBC category.
If only 50 percent reservation was provided for backward classes, there would be more seats available in the open category for them, they said “aggrieved by the excessive backward category reservations for the post.
The HC on Thursday also permitted them to amend the petition and raise a constitutional challenge to the MPSC June 19 results and have it quashed.