Shimla: For keeping in abeyance selection of an OBC candidate as a college lecturer for five years, simply because she had married into a Rajput family, the Himachal Pradesh High Court took a harsh view and imposed Rs 2 lakh costs on the government, a sub-divisional officer and the secretary of the public service commission.
Before imposing the costs, the division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Chauhan observed that:
Mrs. Neetu is being dragged from pillar to post and post to pillar by the respondents without any rhyme and reason and because of her no fault.
After recording that she belonged to a backward OBC family the court noted that “despite all odds” she obtained a M Phil degree in Botany from Punjab University in 2005.
After competing for a college cadre post, Neetu cleared a lecturer examination conducted by HP Public Service Commission and was asked to appear for an interview on 28.8.2009.
However, on the day of the interview she was asked to produce the latest OBC certificate. Neetu, who originally had an OBC certificate, was by then married into a Rajput family and was denied so for having married into an upper class.
Writing for the bench justice Mir records the moot point,
The question is – whether a person, who is having a status by birth can be denied that status because of subsequent development, i.e because of adoption in an upper class or because of marriage in upper class.?
The bench decreed:
Can her right as OBC be taken away from because of her marriage? The answer is in negative
It was on a court directive, in response to a petition by Neetu that a post was kept vacant and she was issued the OBC certificate during pendency of petition.
The judges also asked the government to give her seniority as per merit from the date other persons were appointed but without monetary benefits.
Taking the authorities to task, the court imposed a Rs 200,000/- cost of which Rs 50,000 each is to be recovered from SDM Mandi and Chairman/Secretary of HP Public Service Commission manning the position at the time when Neetu was denied issue of a fresh OBC certificate. The remaining Rs 1 lakh has been imposed on the government.
The court also ordered that while Rs 1 lakh of the costs recovered is to be given the aggrieved petitioner the remaining Rs 1 lakh amount be deposited in the HP High Court Bar Association Welfare Fund.