SC upholds AP decision increasing %age of women in govt jobs

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New Delhi, Nov 11 (UNI) The Supreme Court has upheld the validity of Andhra Pradesh government's notification increasing the percentage of women in government jobs from 30 per cent to 33.33 per cent.

A bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and H S Bedi in their judgment noted "The women candidates, in terms thereof, were therefore only entitled to preferential treatment. By the reason of the said notification merely the percentage has been increased from 30 per cent to 33.33 per cent.

It has been given a retrospective effect, as the existing sub rule(2) of Rule 22A was substituted. By reason of the said notification no existing right of any person has been taken away.

The state, in exercise of its power conferred upon it under the proviso appended to Article 309B of the Constitution of India is entitled to make rules with retrospective effect and retroactive operations." The State of Andhra Pradesh vide the government's order dated October 6 1995 had provided reservations for women candidates to the extent of 30 per cent in the matter of direct recruitment with retrospective effect from January 2 1984. By notification dated May 28 1996 the percentage for reservation of women was increased to 33.33 percent.

Thirty four posts of Assistant Director of Agriculture were to be filled up. A notification inviting application for the post was issued on October 1 1992. Five hundred and ten candidates appeared. Petitioner Marripati Nagaraja and others who were agricultural officers, challenged the notification enhancing the reservation for women on the grounds that due to the notification they have been denied promotions and preferential treatment given to women was not justified and hence the impugned notification should be set aside.

Though the state High Court allowed their petitions the apex court dismissed the petitions of Nagaraja and others and also imposed on them a cost of Rs 25000. Allowing the appeal of Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission(APPSE), the apex court directed "the APPSE is hereby directed to finalise the selection process in the light of the judgement of this court as expeditiously as possible and not later than three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgement." The apex court concluded by noting "in this case qualification of a candidate is not in question. Nobody had been deprived of his right of being considered. Only a preferential right had been given to the women. In that view of the matter the High Court, in our opinion, was not correct in taking the said view".

UNI

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