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Candidate seeks CW certificate for Medical Admission, HC dismisses plea
New Delhi: Observing that randomness in the fixation of a cut-off age is not sufficient to call it arbitrary, the Delhi High Court recently turned down the plea by a medical aspirant seeking a CW certificate for getting admitted to a medical course. The aspirant, who is the son of an ex-serviceman, challenged the decision of the Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) declining to issue...
New Delhi: Observing that randomness in the fixation of a cut-off age is not sufficient to call it arbitrary, the Delhi High Court recently turned down the plea by a medical aspirant seeking a CW certificate for getting admitted to a medical course.
The aspirant, who is the son of an ex-serviceman, challenged the decision of the Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) declining to issue a CW certificate to the petitioner because he is more than 25 years of old, beyond the cut-off age limit for issuance of CW certificate.
However, dismissing the plea, the Delhi High Court bench comprising of Justice Prateek Jalan noted that, "The fixation of a cut off age does sometimes occasion hardship upon a particular category of applicants or candidates. Although there is some randomness in the fixation of a cut off age, by its very nature, that is not sufficient to characterize it as an arbitrary or unreasonable decision."
The CW certificate is issued to children and wards of Armed Forces personnel, for whom seats are reserved or priority admissions are available in various educational institutions.
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Filing a petition before the Delhi High Court, the petitioner referred to the KSB communication dated 17.12.2020, wherein the Board while declining to issue the CW certificate noted that the petitioner aspirant cannot be termed as a dependent of his father beyond the age of 25 years.
Mr. Puneet Kumar Verma, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the decision of the Union and the KSB to this extent is arbitrary and unreasonable as the petitioner also belongs to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, for which the National Medical Commission (NMC) has prescribed the maximum age of 30 years for application to medical courses. In the face of such a stipulation by the NMC, Mr. Verma submitted that it is wholly irrational for a person, who is admittedly the ward of an ex-serviceman, to be denied the benefit of CW category reservation only because he has crossed the age of 25 years.
The counsel for the petitioner further referred to an extract of the Information Bulletin issued by the University of Delhi, which shows that 5% reservation is available for CW category candidates, subject to their having an educational concession certificate issued by the enumerated authorities.
On the other hand, Mr. Vikrant N. Goyal, the counsel for the Union and the KSB, submitted before the Court that the Union has fixed the upper age limit of 25 years for issuance of educational concession certificates for children and wards of Armed Forces personnel as a policy decision, which does not warrant interference of the writ court.
He further pointed out that such a decision is consistent with the definition of "Dependent" contained in the notification dated 13.04.1993, which concerns the establishment of the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund.
At this outset, the counsel appearing for NMC, Mr. T. Singhdev submitted that even though NMC has relaxed the age limit for admission as far as OBC category candidates are concerned, this does not imply a mandate upon the Government to extend the same age limit in respect of CW category reservations.
After listening to all these contentions, the bench noted,
"The decision taken by the respondents is a policy decision, which does not display any such arbitrariness or unreasonableness as to merit the intervention of the writ court. Reservation in respect of OBC category students and CW category students are separate categories of reservations. The age limit fixed by the NMC for OBC candidates is 30 years and that remains available to the petitioner No. 1. As recorded above, the NMC itself does not suggest that the same age limit must be applied to CW category candidates also."
Taking note of the fact that the petitioner has sought a direction that the benefit available to him in the CW category must also be extended until the age of 30 years, the bench referred to a Supreme Court judgment in Rachna and Others vs. Union of India and Another and observed,
"These benefits are intended to benefit the families of ex-servicemen. The fixation of an upper age limit until which the benefit would be available is, in my view, not irrational. For the Government to take a decision that the benefit to servicemen's families would be maximised if candidates avail of the benefits at an earlier age is within the realm of a policy decision. The interference of the writ court with such policies is extremely limited."
Thus, dismissing the petition, the bench clarified,
"The fixation of a cut off age does sometimes occasion hardship upon a particular category of applicants or candidates. Although there is some randomness in the fixation of a cut off age, by its very nature, that is not sufficient to characterize it as an arbitrary or unreasonable decision."
To read the court order, click on the link below.
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Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.