ANI Photo | Delhi HC rejects plea challenging priority in reservation for defence personnel ward in colleges

The Delhi High Court Monday dismissed a plea challenging the Centre’s decision to give a higher priority to wards of ex-servicemen than those of serving personnel in admission to various educational institutions under Army quota of five per cent.
The petition was filed by the husband of a serving Lt Colonel of the Indian Army.
He moved the Court seeking to quash the order of May 21, 2018. The High Court dismissed the petition noting that there is no arbitrariness or mala fied in the said policy.
The division bench comprising justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Krishna Bansal said, “The classification has been done and the wards of serving personnel have been included even though in Priority VIII only to ensure that the benefit of five per cent reservation, on the whole, is availed ensures to the benefit to the wards of Armed Forces Personnel.”
The bench also said that the horizontal utilization of reservation quota is essentially determined by the Government order dated May 21, 2018. We do not find any ground to interfere with the Government order dated May 21, 2018, or to reshuffle the priority categories as provided therein.
This petition was filed on behalf of the petitioner Viney Chaudhary to quash the order/letter dated May 21, 2018, of the Government of India giving the categories of priority within the reservations provided in the Army quota of 5 per cent for admission to various colleges.
He also sought to pray to give directions to the Central Government and the Secretary of Higher Education to treat/include priority no VIII above priority no VI or in alternative to consider both priority nos VI and VIII at the same podium for the admissions in the forthcoming Academic Year 2023-24.
The wife of the petitioner is serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Indian Army and is currently posted in New Delhi. The son of the petitioner is a student of class XII in Delhi Public School, RK Puram, who is aspiring to become a software engineer to pursue a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) Course for which the qualifying examination is the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) (JEE), and the said examination was scheduled to be conducted from April 6, 2023, to April 12, 2023.
The son of the petitioner while going through the counselling/cutoff charts of various engineering colleges of the Government of the national capital territory of Delhi found that the majority of reservation benefits are being taken away only by priority VI leaving no seat available for the remaining priorities, especially priority-VIII, in getting admission to various professional courses.
The aforesaid anomaly was raised by the petitioner before the Competent Authority but not a muscle was moved.
Thereafter, the petitioner made the representation dated December 16, 2022, to the respondents, but no response to the said representation was forthcoming from the respondents.
It was claimed that while categorising the Priority-V and the Priority-VII, both wards of ex-servicemen and of serving personnel have been put in the same category; however, no intelligible differentia has been applied while categorising the Priority-VI and Priority-VIII. In fact, it is a biased act to give deliberate benefit to the wards of ex-servicemen over the serving personnel.
The grievance of the petitioner was that while considering the reservation in the prescribed categories, the wards of ex-servicemen who fall in Priority VI practically take away the reserved categories despite having scored better ranking, leaving very few vacancy seats for the wards
of serving personnel to get the benefit of reservations.
The petitioner has challenged only the Government of India Order dated May 21, 2018, limited to Priority VI and Priority VIII.
The bench noted that the petitioner has not challenged the reservation of 5 per cent provided to the wards of Armed Forces Personnel but is aggrieved by the wards of ex-servicemen being placed in Priority VI while wards of serving personnel being placed in Priority VIII in the revised list of Priorities.
According to the petitioner, there is no intelligible differentia for placing the wards of serving personnel in a category below the wards of ex-servicemen on the grounds that while ex-servicemen have not only retired from their services and are no longer serving the nation, but at the same time they are getting their pensions as well as due benefits which are commensurate to those which are being enjoyed by the serving personnel.
It was asserted by the Counsel for the petitioner that a person, who is covered in the category of ex-servicemen, has worked in the Armed Forces for minimum pensionable service that is, 15 years for other ranks and the JCOs, and 20 years of service for Commissioned Officers, and who have either been retired, relieved or discharged from the service whether at their own request by the Organisation due to under optimum performance for next promotion.
He also argued, “A Serving Personnel continues his or her service and performs excellently well and gives his or her cent per cent to the service of the nation. Therefore, the wards of Serving Personnel should be given higher Priority at all times as they have to face untimely shifting due to posting, lack of amenities due to the posting in remote areas, lack of care, and risk factors in the sensitive areas etc. while no such hardships are being faced by the wards of retired personnel.”
It was further claimed that because of the said biased categorization, the chances of Serving Personnel applying for retirement may increase, especially at a point of time when their wards are in XI or XII class so that their wards are also able to get the same benefit of Priority in the category of retired servicemen

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