- Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh who formed the Bench together gave a judgement stating that the principle of preferential candidates should apply when there is a tie between the preferential candidate and the general candidate.
- It stated that a person who is considered as a preferential candidate can be given a mark over a general candidate.
- In the case of Chairman, TANGEDCO V. Priyadaarshini, Rule 55 of Tamil Nadu State and Subordinate Service Rules was applied.
- According to the rule, other things being equal, preference would be given to an outstanding person concerning appointment to any post by direct recruitment.
- In this case, Recruitment of Personnel from the Open Market invitation was issued for the post of Assistant Engineer/ Electrical/ Mechanical and Civil by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Service Regulation. The candidates would have to sit for a written examination and also appear for the interview for the selection process.
- The Board published the cut-off marks for viva-voce interviews for the post of 375 Assistant Engineers by direct recruitment.
- The candidate, Priyadaarshini who is a respondent, in this case, had applied through an online process and she had not mentioned that she was eligible for the concession to come under any priority quota except for the reservation as she belonged to the SC quota.
- She was called for an interview as she had secured a score more than the cut off marks in the written examination and the final score after the interview was 29.283
- The respondent claimed that despite the respondent being an outstanding scout it is not considered as a priority for the post of direct recruitment through employment exchange.
- The Court observed that the question of preference would arise even if it had worked in the favor of the candidate if she was identically situated as the other candidate in terms of merit and then would get the preference.
- The Court stated that the direction of the High Court brings the candidate under the “priority category” which could not have been done.
- The Bench observed that whenever a selection is made based on merit performance which involves competition and possession of qualification then the additional qualification has to be preferred.
- The Court observed that Rule 55 of the Service Rules provided for ‘preference only’ and not a priority.
- After taking into consideration the fact that she is a recipient of the Presidential Award, the Apex Court ordered that she would be granted the post of Assistant Engineer (Electrical) but her name would be at the bottom of the seniority list and that she would receive the seniority benefits only after the date of the appointment order which was to be furnished to her in one month from the day of the judgement.
- What are your views on the judgement?
- What do you understand by the term ‘preferential candidate’?
Share your views in the comments section below.