HC stays the order of preference in reservations to wards of Defence Personnel

Jammu Tawi, May 18:

The High Court of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh today stayed the guidelines that accord some reservation to the Children of Defence Personnel for seeking admission to professional engineering and Medical Colleges in various states and union territories across India.

Hearing a petition filed by one Saanvi Andotra, who is a daughter of a serving Army Officer challenged the order of preference in reservation to the wards of Ex-Servicemen over those of serving defence personnel, the High Court stayed the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Govt. of India, notification F.No.6(1)/2017/ D/(Res-II) dated November 30, 2017 wherein it has placed the wards of Ex-servicemen over those of serving defence personnel.

The petitioner asserted that the J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE), vide notice No: 083-BOPEE of 2021 dated 16.12.2021 had made applicable the amendments made in rules 14 & 15 of J&K Reservation Rules 2005. It was further mentioned in this notification that reservation/ preference to the wards of armed forces personnel of UT of J&K for admission to Medical/Professional Courses shall be according to the lower precedent as identified by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, Ministry of Defence, Government of India and Government of J&K, Directorate of Sainik Welfare, Ambphalla, Jammu.

The counsel for the petitioner, Advocate HC Jhalmaria argued that the Children of Defence Personnel were getting reservation for admission in professional courses including in MBBS Course, smoothly as per their inter-se merit in the CDP category. There was level playing field for all candidates of CDP category without any discrimination.

However, the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare D(Res-II), Ministry of Defence, unauthorisedly and as judge in their own cause, wrote a communication dated November 30, 2017, through its Joint Secretary, to the Chief Secretaries/Administrators of All State/UTs, hereinafter referred to as the communication impugned. Copy of communication is already enclosed. In this communication, nine categories of Wards of Armed Forces Personnel have been pointed out and priorities fixed. As per this communication, Wards of Ex-Servicemen have been placed at higher Priority VI whereas wards of Serving Personnel have been placed at lower Priority VIII. Fixing arbitrary priorities and writing on behalf of wards of Serving Defence personnel, is unauthorized, irrational, discriminatory act.

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