Scope of Article 15 (3) is Much Wider, as Compared to that of Article 16 (4): Central Administrative Tribunal

Scope of Article 15 (3) is much wider, as compared to that of Article 16 (4): Central Administrative Tribunal

The Central Administrative Tribunal’s Principal Bench at Delhi has held that scope of Article 15 (3) is much wider, as compared to that of Article 16 (4), observing this it upholds 80% reservation for women nurses in AIIMS. The bench ruled this while quashing two pleas against ‘gender-based reservation’

The reservation of 80% posts of Nursing Officer for female, as notified, is considered to be a special provision for women candidate under Article 15 (3) of the Constitution as a separate classification and is held to be valid.

Contention set forth by the applicants

  • They contended that the provision of granting 80% reservation to females aspirants for the post of Nursing Officer was against the mandate of Indra Sawhney vs. Union of India, 1992 Supp. 3 SCC 217, wherein the upper limit cap of 50% was set for reservations.
  •  Article 15 (3) of the Constitution cannot be invoked to provide for 80% reservation for female in public employment. Articles 14, 15 & 16 are to be read harmoniously.
  • Further it also urged that the Central Institute Body, which had approved such reservation, isn’t a competent body.

Observation and findings of Tribunal

  • The Tribunal noted for the first issue that, “This Tribunal is of the considered view that Article 15 (3) provides for special provision for women. The Hon’ble Apex Court have held in many judgments, including in P.B. Vijay Kumar that scope of Article 15 (3) is much wider as compared to that of Article 16 (4) under which 50% ceiling was fixed in Indra Sawhney.

scope of Article 15 (3) is much wider, as compared to that of Article 16 (4), which is limited to only to community-based reservation in public employment for candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC.

  • Reliance was made to the pronouncement delivered by the Patna High Court and CAT, Patna by the Tribunal, wherein the Court upheld gender-based reservation in recruitment, for the posts of Nursing Officer for
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    AIIMS Patna.
  • The CAT Patna while deciding OA No.54/2020 and Hon’ble Patna High Court while deciding Writ Petition No.7524/2020 have both relied upon P.B. Vijay Kumar, which in turn has also discussed Indra Sawhney. Many other judgments were also relied upon. It was thereafter that 80% reservation for female for the post of Nursing Officer was upheld in these judgments. There is no reason to believe that the entire judgment in P.B. Vijay Kumar was not taken into account by these two judicial forums. This Tribunal is in respectful agreement with the decision rendered by CAT Patna and Hon’ble High Court of Patna,” it noted.
  • The CIB is functioning under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare and is represented by other experts from diverse walks of life out of whom majority are from the medical field. The statutory power are drawn from the relevant Act (AIIMS Act, 1956) read with subsequent amendments and the OMs issued on 12.1.2018 and 28.06.2018. Paras-3 and 9 specify that Empowered Committee which was redesignated as CIB, can take a policy decision in respect of the issues pertaining to Human Resources (HR), establishment and personal matters, namely, recruitment issue etc. Therefore, the contention of the applicants that CIB was not empowered is not acceptable,” the Tribunal answered regarding the second issue.
  • The CIB is a body set up in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to oversee the setting up of 21 new AIIMS by drawing upon the experience and expertise gained by the older AIIMS, New Delhi, it added.

Case Name: Ranveer Singh & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.

Citation: OA No.1120/2020

Bench: Hon’bleMr.Pradeep Kumar, Member (A) Hon’bleMr. R.N. Singh, Member (J)

[ Scope of Article 15 (3) is much wider, as compared to that of Article 16 (4): Central Administrative Tribunal ]

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