Validity of Certificates in Reserved Category Applications: SC

Summary of Judgment 

In this case the Supreme Court of India delivered a significant judgment regarding the validity of certificates obtained by candidates belonging to reserved categories. The Court addressed the issue of whether certificates acquired after the date of application or the last submission date mentioned in the advertisement should be considered valid.

The Court unequivocally stated that candidates applying under a reserved category must possess the relevant certificate on the date of their application to demonstrate their eligibility. Certificates obtained after the application or submission date cannot be deemed valid. This principle was particularly emphasized in cases where candidates apply under categories like Other Backward Class-Non Creamy Layer (OBC-NCL) or Economically Weaker Section (EWS), as these categories are dynamic and subject to change based on the candidate's economic status.

The Court rejected the argument that certificates produced during the interview should be accepted as valid if there is no fixed date specified in the advertisement or if the Rules are silent on the matter. To support its position, the Court cited previous cases that stressed the importance of possessing the necessary certificates, degrees, or marksheets to establish eligibility qualifications. It also highlighted the need for producing certificates to avail of reservation benefits or weightage.

Importantly, the Court observed that none of the appellants had raised the contention that they had applied on time, and any delay in obtaining certificates was due to the competent authorities. Additionally, the Court noted that the appellants did not provide the required affidavits as per the relevant circulars.

In conclusion, the Court held that in the absence of a specified date in the advertisement and when the rules are silent, the last date fixed for submitting applications should be considered for scrutinizing candidates' eligibility. The Court referred to previous judgments and firmly established that qualifications and eligibility must be assessed with reference to the last date for receiving applications, unless the notification specifies otherwise.

Ultimately, the Court dismissed the appeals, finding no error in the judgments of the High Court. The matter was referred to the Chief Justice of India to be placed before an appropriate Bench for further consideration, and the Court requested an expedited hearing of the appeals due to the urgency of the matter.


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