New Delhi, Nov 4 (SocialNews.XYZ) The Supreme Court on Friday lifted the stay imposed by the Uttarakhand High Court on the government order which provided 30 per cent horizontal reservation only in respect of women candidates of Uttarakhand in public employment.
A bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and V. Ramasubramanian stayed the high court order passed on August 24, 2022 and also issued notice on the plea filed by the state government challenging the order.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and advocate Vanshaja Shukla, represented the Uttarakhand government in the apex court.
The state government submitted that high court interim order tantamount to passing of final relief sought by the respondents as the high court erroneously directed that 30 per cent of the reservation for women shall be construed as horizontal reservation for women candidates, irrespective of their domicile or place of residence.
"The state continued to provide 30 per cent reservation for women of Uttarakhand and the government order dated July 24, 2006, was never challenged for around 15 years. However, the high court did not take the same into account and wrongly stayed the said government order," said the state government's plea in the apex court.
The state government also placed strong reliance on the apex court passed in February this year in the case of Haryana vs. Faridabad Industries Association and others.
The Haryana government implemented The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020, vide which Haryana would provide reservation up to 75 per cent to local candidates having domicile of Haryana in various privately managed companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnerships firms, partnership firms etc. situated in Haryana.
The High Court stayed the Act, however, the apex court on February 17 set aside the interim order passed by the high court.
The state government's plea said: "It is submitted that owing to the hardships faced by women of the state, the female residents, the State being welfare State is of the view that the women of the State constitute a homogeneous group, which requires special attention of the State so as to ensure social justice and equality for them."
It added: "Further, the geographical classification is made on the basis of intelligible differentia and is in furtherance of the fundamental right of life, livelihood, employment, health and living conditions of the women domiciled in the state. It is submitted that Article 14 read with Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution permits reasonable classification within the overarching principle of equality."
The plea added that the state government intends to provide employment to women of the state who are unemployed and domiciled in the state, irrespective of their caste, creed, sex, place of origin or place of birth, and their social status has been grouped together to make a reasonable classification to achieve the object of providing suitable employment opportunities.
The respondents approached the Uttarakhand High Court at Nainital challenging the government orders dated July 18, 2001 and July 24, 2006, and Clause 8 of the advertisement dated August 10, 2021, on the alleged ground that horizontal reservation only on the basis of domicile of the State was arbitrary, illegal and in violation of Article 14,16,19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The advertisement was for the Uttarakhand Combined State Civil/Upper Subordinate Service Examination, 2021, listing 224 vacancies for various posts in 31 departments of the state of Uttarakhand.
In Clause 8 of the advertisement, it was inter alia provided, that women -- not resident of Uttarakhand, were not entitled for the benefit of reservation, and that such candidates were only entitled to apply against unreserved (general) category.