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Not adequate to characterize the Randomness in fixing Cut-off for Reservation as Arbitrary

Delhi High Court in the case of Ketan Kr. & Anr v UOI & Anr held that Randomness in fixing Cut-off Age is not sufficient to be declared as unreasonable or Arbitrary.

Case related to a son of a retired Army personnel, who sought CW certificate (children & Wards of Army personnel) so he could gain admission under CW quota provided by various Medical colleges. Certificate is provided by Centre & Kendriya Sainik board (KSB), which declined to issue the certificate as the candidate had crossed 25 years of Age (cut-off). He could not termed as “Dependent” of his father on completion of 25yrs. The petitioner claimed that the cut-off age was arbitrary and unreasonable as he also belonged to OBC for which 30 years is the cut-off age (set by National Medical commission).

The Centre & KSB submitted that Cut-off age for CW candidate was a policy decision & writ petition was not required. Also, that CW & OBC categories are different. 

Delhi HC relied on Rachna & Ors. v UOI & Anr. (SC case) :

It is not in the domain of the courts to embark upon an inquiry as to whether a particular public policy is wise and acceptable or whether better policy could be evolved. The Court can only interfere if the policy framed is absolutely capricious and non-informed by reasons, or totally arbitrary, offending the basic requirement of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The Court also relied on Hirandra Kumar vs. High Court of Judicature at Allahabad and Another (2019) to observe that randomness in the fixation of a cut off age, by its very nature, is not sufficient to characterize it as an arbitrary or unreasonable decision.

Thus, Delhi High Court observed, while dismissing the petition.

“The fixation of a cut off age does sometimes occasion hardship upon a particular category of applicants or candidates. Although there is some randomness in the fixation of a cut off age, by its very nature, that is not sufficient to characterize it as an arbitrary or unreasonable decision,” Justice Prateek Jalan observed.

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