Reserved category candidates who are selected on the basis of merit should be adjusted against Open Category: SC

The Apex Court has reiterated candidates from the reserved category, who score more marks than the general category candidates, should be adjusted against the general category based on merit and not based on the reserved category.

Hon’ble Court relied on the State of Tamil Nadu vs K Shobhna & Ors and other precedents. It held that it is settled that candidates who score more than general category candidates have to be adjusted in the general category.

The above-mentioned observations were made when the Bench considered an appeal filed by the Tamil Nadu government against a Madras High Court judgement.

In this case, the issue was regarding filling vacancies as per Section 27(f) of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants Act. The issue arose in the recruitment process of Post Graduate Assistants and Physical Education Directors(Grade 1).


The respondents submitted that some candidates who would have bagged a seat even without reservations were appointed in quota for backlog vacancies under Denotified Communities (DC) and Most Backward Classes). They argued that such candidates should be appointed under the general category, and reserved category students should fill remaining vacancies.

Tamil Nadu relied on Section 27(f), which deals with carrying forward reserved vacancies next year and filling backlog vacancies for the next recruitment. Section 27(f) that selection for the next recruitment should be made first for the backlog vacancies.

The State of Tamil Nadu and some candidates argued that Section 27(f) mandates that the backlog vacancies should be first filled in based on merit. After those vacancies were filled, the appointment had to be made based on merit in the General Turn.

Observations of the Court

Hon’ble Court opined that Section 27(f) could not be interpreted to negate the principle and as Section 27 deals with reservation, it has nothing to do with General Turn vacancies/general candidate vacancies. In court’s opinion, Section 27 would apply only when the reservation principle starts, that is, when filling up seats on merit.

The Court also relied on Saurav Yadav vs State of Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court held that candidates who belong to the reserved category are eligible to fill open/general category vacancies based on merit. The Court also observed that Section 27(f) propagates the social philosophy of vacancies for the reserved category doesn’t lapse when there are inadequate candidates. Therefore instead of giving seats to the general category, the seats are carried forward.

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As per the judgement, the following steps have to be followed for an appointment:-

  • First, the general merit list should be filled in.
  • After that backlog vacancies, reserved category seats should be filled.
  • Thereafter, the remaining reserved vacancies should be filled.

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