The High Court stayed the state government order on August 24.
A division bench comprising Justices S Abdul Nazeer and V Ramasubramanian issued notices on an appeal by the Uttarakhand government against the High Court order. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the state government.The Uttarakhand Public Service Commission had, through a notification dated August 10, 2021, advertised the Uttarakhand Combined State (Civil)/Pravar Subordinate Service Examination 2021, and listed 224 vacancies for various posts in about 31 departments.
According to the notification, the 30% horizontal reservation did not apply to women who were not domiciled in the state. This was challenged before the High Court, with the petitioners arguing that horizontal reservation based only on domicile of the State was arbitrary, illegal and in violation of Article 14,16,19 and 21 of the Constitution.
They challenged state government orders dated July 18, 2001, and July 24, 2006, as well as Clause 8 of the advertisement dated August 10, 2021.
The petitioners further contended before the HC that the government order created an Unreserved Uttarakhand Mahila Category which provided lower cut-off marks for women of the state to pass the preliminary examination.
The reservation, they said, deprived them of the opportunity of appearing in the main examination as they couldn’t clear the preliminaries despite getting more marks than women who could make use of the reservation.
The petitioners further argued that the state government did not have the power to provide domicile-based reservation.
The plea before the High Court also contended that the Indian Constitution allowed for reservation based on domicile only by a law enacted by Parliament. The government order was stayed by the High Court, allowing the petitioners to appear in the main examination. Aggrieved, the Uttarakhand government appealed against the decision in the apex court.