[UPSC] Selected candidate has right to be considered for appointment to IAS, but no right to choose cadre or home state: Supreme Court

  • Aishwarya Iyer
  • 10:57 AM, 25 Oct 2021

Relying on a three judge bench judgment in Union of India and Ors. v. Rajiv Yadav, IAS and Ors., the Supreme Court has held that allocation of cadre in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) is not a matter of right. 

The court noted that the bench in Rajiv Yadav 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 to his home state.

A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian further held that allotment of cadre is an incidence of service. It added,

"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. The procedure for allocation of cadre is a mechanical process and admits no exception except in terms of Rule 7(4) which is to be read as proviso to Rule 7(3). The State has no discretion of allocation of a cadre at its whims and fancies."

An appeal was filed Union of India against an order passed by the High Court of Kerala in 2017 whereby the appellant was directed to allocate the respondent, one A. Shainamol to the Kerala cadre of the All-India Service.

Shainamol sought appointment to the All-India Services in pursuance of the Civil Services Examination-2006. She belonged to Muslim community and also to the OBC category. She was allotted Himachal Pradesh cadre after the Union sought the consent of Himachal Pradesh government on 13.11.2007, which was duly received on 17.12.2007.

She filed an Original Application under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 before the Ernakulam Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal which then directed the Union to allot and accommodate her against the outsider OBC vacancy in the Maharashtra cadre by virtue of her merit. This order was then challenged before the Kerala High Court. Disposing of the writ petitions, the High Court declared that the applicant was eligible to be allotted the Kerala cadre.

The instant Bench was of the view that the High Court had completely misread the statutory rules and the policy of allocation of cadre.

With regard to the issue whether consultation in respect of allocation of cadre was required to be done with the State from which the candidate belongs or with the State to which the candidate is being allocated, the said argument was found to be untenable.

It was noted that the applicant was allocated to the State of Himachal Pradesh and there was a consent duly given by the State of Himachal Pradesh for her allocation to that State.

The bench further held that no consultation was required to be carried out in respect of the applicant with Kerala State. Therefore, mandate of Rule 5(1) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954 was satisfied when consultation was made with the State to which allocation was made.

Furthermore, since the applicant although belonging to OBC had not availed any relaxations or concessions admissible to OBC candidates, was thus not entitled to OBC reserved seat in her State, held the Court.

Thus, she was found to be rightly allocated to Himachal Pradesh cadre as a general category candidate falling in Rule 7(3) in view of her merit position as a general category candidate.

"The notification dated 3.12.2005 inviting applications for CSE-2006 was in terms of Rule 7 of the Recruitment Rules and also the allocation circular. The proviso to clause 16(1) of the notification contemplates that if an SC/ST or OBC candidate has not availed any concessions or relaxations in the eligibility or selection criteria at any stage of the examination, and if after taking into account the general qualifying standards is found fit for recommendation by the Commission, they shall not be recommended against the vacancies reserved for SC/ST and OBC", held the bench.

It was thus held that the observation of the Kerala High Court that there was a lack of consultation with the State of Kerala was not acceptable. Moreover, the findings of the High Court that the action of the Union was arbitrary as the allocation to certain States was more than the cadre gap is again not sustainable as the 89 vacancies were allocated to the States on the basis of the norms as submitted before this Court.

With this view, the appeals were allowed and the the orders passed by the High Court and the Tribunal were set aside.

Cause Title: Union of India and Anr. v. Ms. A. Shainamol, IAS and Anr.