SC issues notice in Ex-servicemen's plea to relax Physical Efficiency criteria for forest guard post

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Despite 12.5% reservation for ex-serviceman and relaxation in age, the State stubbornly refuse to relax qualifying crietria for Physical Efficiency Test, court has been told

A division bench of the Supreme Court on Friday (May 31) issued notice in a plea filed by ex-serviceman for appointment as forest guard in the State of Rajasthan seeking to relax qualifying criteria for Physical Efficiency Test. 

It is the petitioner's case that the state is forcing older veterans to compete with young which is a violation of Articles 14 and 16.

Vacation bench of Justices Sanjay Karol and Arvind Kumar has issue notice in the plea.

The Rajasthan High Court in the impugned judgment had observed that the physical fitness is a vital aspect for the post of Forest Guard requiring the selected candidates to endure tough conditions such as mountain climbing and treading through rough terrains, thus the job profile is such that demands physical movement and involves strenuous work, making it crucial that the persons so selected for the post in question maintain a certain standard of physical fitness.

High Court had further said the condition as contained in the impugned advertisement, could not in any manner, be said to be violative of any provisions of law or prejudicial to the interests of any category of persons, particularly, the Ex-servicemen.

The petitioners before the High Court had submitted that as per the reservation policy for Ex-servicemen, the same was governed by the Rajasthan Civil Services (Absorption of Ex-Servicemen) Rules, 1988 and Rajasthan Civil Services (Absorption of Ex Servicemen) (Amendment) Rules, 2018 and the subsequent Amendment 2020 whereby 12.5% reservation was given to the Ex-serviceman category, however, the respondent department in absolute contravention of the legal intent of the legislation did not provide relaxation in the Physical Efficiency Test.

It was further argued that relaxation for the category of ex-serviceman has previously been given in physical Efficiency Test of the police department and thus not doing the same for the post in question was discriminatory in nature.