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NEW DELHI: Special treatment for the underprivileged is a facet of equality guaranteed under the Constitution and treating unequal as equals while giving special treatment is a well-recognised form of discrimination, Delhi High Court has said.

The court noted that the Constitution includes special provisions for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), and empowers the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.

The court’s observations came on a batch of petitions by some SC/ST candidates declared ineligible to be appointed as the court attendant/room attendant (Group-C) under the reserved category in Delhi High Court on the ground that they are not “ordinarily residents of Delhi”. The court, however, noted a series of judicial decisions by the Supreme Court as well as the high court, and held that the “rule of pan-India reservation would apply to recruitment to posts in the subordinate services” in the national capital.

The court directed its establishment to consider the appointment of the meritorious petitioners to the posts concerned under the quota for the reserved category candidates, without insisting that they establish that they are ordinarily residents of Delhi.

It noted that the official notification issued for the posts invited applications from all citizens of the country and the requirement for a candidate to be an ordinarily resident of Delhi was carved out only in respect of candidates claiming reservation for belonging to the SC and ST categories. “Thus, if a candidate is able to furnish a certificate of belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe which may otherwise be issued only by the competent authority where such a candidate is ordinarily resident he cannot be denied the benefit of reservation as specified under the notification,” the court said.

“These petitions are allowed and the establishment of Delhi High Court is directed to consider appointment of the petitioners to the advertised posts under the quota for the reserved category candidates, without insisting that the petitioners establish that they are ordinarily residents of Delhi,” it ordered.

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