Successful UPSC candidates have no right to be allocated cadre of their choice: Supreme Court
Referring to the Indian Administrative Service (Recruitment) Rules, the bench said that the procedure for allocation of cadre is a “mechanical process” and the State has no discretion at its “whims and fancies.”
Setting aside the orders passed by the Kerala high court, the Supreme Court on Friday said that successful civil services candidates have no right to be allocated a cadre or place of appointment of their choice as they opt to serve anywhere in the country with “eyes wide open”. A bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian held that if candidates from Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), or Other Backward Class (OBC) get selected in the general category without recourse to the benefit of reservation, they cannot use it for getting cadre or place of appointment of choice.
Justice Gupta, who authored the 36-page judgement for the bench, noted that “scramble for the home cadre” starts once the candidates get selected to All-India Service. Referring to the Indian Administrative Service (Recruitment) Rules, the bench said that the procedure for allocation of cadre is a “mechanical process” and the State has no discretion at its “whims and fancies.”
“It was held that a selected candidate has a right to be considered for appointment to the IAS but he has no such right to be allocated to a cadre of his choice or his home state. As stated above, allotment of cadre is an incidence of service,” the court said.
“The applicant as a candidate for the All-India Service with eyes wide open has opted to serve anywhere in the country. Once an applicant gets selected to service, the scramble for the home cadre starts...,” Justice Gupta noted.
The observation came after the Central government challenged a verdict of the Kerala high court which had asked it to grant home cadre Kerala to A Shainamol, a Muslim woman IAS officer who was posted in Himachal Pradesh. Shainamol secured 20th rank in the UPSC civil services examination 2006 under the general category despite belonging to the reserved Muslim OBC category.
She was allocated Himachal Pradesh cadre but the IAS officer moved the Ernakulam Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal against the allocation. The tribunal directed the Centre to accommodate her against “the outsider OBC vacancy in the Maharashtra cadre by virtue of her merit over the candidate already identified and allotted the Maharashtra cadre.”
After both the Centre and the IAS officer challenged the verdict in Kerala high court, it allowed Shainamol’s plea seeking the declaration that she was eligible to be allotted home state cadre.
“The entire basis of the claim of the applicant is that there was no consultation with the State of Kerala. The said argument is however untenable. The applicant was allocated to the State of Himachal Pradesh and there was consent duly given by the State of Himachal Pradesh for her allocation to that State. In fact, no consultation was required to be carried out in respect of the applicant with Kerala State,” the apex court held.