Reservation in appointment:
Article 16(4) of Constitution of India:
Subject to any permissible reservations i.e.either Social (Vertical) or Special (Horizontal), opportunities to public employment and selection of candidates must purely be based on merit.Any selection which results in candidates getting selected against Open/General category with less merit than the other available candidates will certainly be opposed to principles of equality. There can be special dispensation when it comes to candidates being considered against seats or quota meant for reserved categories and in theory it is possible that a more meritorious candidate coming from Open/General category may not get selected. But the converse can never be true and will be opposed to61the very basic principles which have all the while been accepted by this Court. Any view or process of interpretation which will lead to incongruity as highlighted earlier, must be rejected.
Even going by the present illustration, the first female candidate allocated in the vertical column for Scheduled Tribes may have secured higher position than the candidate at Serial No.64. In that event said candidate must be shifted from the category of Scheduled Tribes to Open / General category causing a resultant vacancy in the vertical column of Scheduled Tribes. Such vacancy must then enure to the benefit of the candidate in the Waiting List for Scheduled Tribes – Female.
Reservation is not rigid:
Reservations, both vertical and horizontal, are method of ensuring representation in public services. These are not to be seen as rigid “slots”, where a candidate’s merit, which otherwise entitles her to be shown in the open general category, is foreclosed, as the consequence would be, if the state’s argument is accepted. Doing so, would result in a communal reservation, where each social category is confined within the extent of their reservation, thus negating merit. The open category is open to all, and the only condition for a candidate to be shown in it is merit, regardless of whether reservation benefit of either type is available to her or him.