Breaking: Supreme Court Overturns Haryana Government’s 5-Marks Reservation in Employment Exams as Unconstitutional

In a significant ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court of India declared the Haryana government’s decision to grant a 5-point grace in government recruitment exams to candidates from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds as unconstitutional. The verdict has placed 23,000 appointments across Group C and D positions in jeopardy.

The contentious policy was initially introduced in the Common Eligibility Test (CET), targeting families with an annual income of less than ₹1.80 lakh, purportedly to level the playing field for economically backward candidates. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier struck down the reservation, prompting appeals to the Supreme Court by the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC).

The apex court’s bench, led by Justice Vikram Nath and Justice S.B.N. Bhatti, heard multiple petitions including those previously submitted by the Haryana government seeking additional time to include more cases.

The High Court, in its detailed order, criticized the state’s approach, questioning the absence of sufficient data or a commission to justify such reservations. It argued that the policy was akin to offering reservation and could drastically alter the outcome of recruitment processes, unfairly benefiting only those possessing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) certificate, thereby contradicting constitutional provisions.

According to the High Court, the reservation was artificially created without solid backing and extended benefits to a specific group which is not permissible under Articles 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution. These articles ensure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination in public employment throughout India.

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The Supreme Court’s reversal means that the 23,000 candidates who had secured positions based on the earlier results will now have to re-appear for the exams. Failure to pass could result in their dismissal from service. This decision underscores the judiciary’s scrutiny over employment reservations and insists on compliance with constitutional norms without undue favoritism.

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