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DATE OF JUDGMENT29th January, 2024
COURTSupreme Court of India
APPELLANTPriyanka Prakash Kulkarni
RESPONDENTMaharashra Public Service Commission 
BENCHJustice Vikram Nath and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma


The present judgment is related to the issue that whether a candidate can change the nature of his/her category and take benefit of any amended rules at the stage of declaration of final result as per the circumstances of the present case. However, no hand and fast rule is laid down in this judgment. In this case, the appellant had applied for post of A and B grade officer before the respondent in Open General Category and not in Reserved Female Category as the appellant was not holding Non Creamy Layer Certificate (NCL Certificate) as per the advertisement. Before the declaration of result, the rule regarding Non Creamy Layer Certificate was modified and the appellant approached the Apex Court to avail the benefit of it which is mentioned below in detail.

Facts of the case-

  • That the respondent has issued an advertisement No.45/2022 dated 11.05.2022 for the post of Group A and group B officers and the appellant applied for the same.
  • That as per the said advertisement the candidate can apply for reserved female category if the candidate has domicile of Maharashtra and candidate must belong to Non Creamy Layer. Hence, the candidate must have an NCL certificate which must be valid for the last date of submission of application form i.e. 01/06/2022 as per the circular of bearing number CBC-2012/P.No.182/Vijabhaj-1 dated 25.03.2013. Now as per this circular, the candidate must have NCL certificate of particular period of preceding year as per advertisement.
  • The appellant was unable to produce an NCL certificate, so she applied for the post in Open General Category. The appellant had also cleared the preliminary exam and the main examination also and was waiting for the final result.
  • That on 17.02.2023, the Department of Other Backward Bahujan Welfare issued a corrigendum and the rule for NCL certificate was modified that the candidate who is having NCL certificate of current financial year is also eligible for reserved female category. To avail the benefit of this corrigendum, the appellant filed an application before Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal, Mumbai (MAT).
  • That Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal, Mumbai (MAT) dismissed the said application i.e. OA-396-2023 by deciding that the appellant/candidate cannot change her category at the final stage as per the notification. The appellant/petitioner filed a writ petition no. 9040 of 2023 before the High Court of Bombay and the same was also dismissed on 23/08/2023 (Impugned Order) and upheld the decision of MAT, Mumbai. Now, the appellant filed this appeal before the Supreme Court of India.

Issues for consideration-

Whether the appellant is eligible to avail benefit of the above mentioned corrigendum at the stage of declaration of final result? 

Contention of Appellant-

  1. That at the time of applying for the post of Group A and Group B officers, the appellant was not having NCL certificate as per the guidelines of circular dated 25/03/2013, so the appellant had no other option then to apply for the post in Open General category as she was unable to produce NCL certificate at that time.  Now, the appellant is possessing NCL certificate of current year, she is also eligible to gain benefit for reserved female category as per the corrigendum as the final result is not declared yet.
  2. That the respondent is giving benefit to other 7 to 8 candidates and allowing them to submit NCL certificate as per the said corrigendum who had dishonestly applied for reserved female category. 

Contentions of the respondent- 

  1. That as per the notification, the appellant had chosen Open General Category and the category of the appellant cannot be changed at the final stage. Moreover, the appellant had given her preliminary and main examination in Open General Category. 
  2. That it is pertinent to mention here that in her application form, the appellant has not answered YES to the question that whether she is eligible for the category of Non creamy layer. 
  3. That other candidates to whom the benefit of corrigendum is given, they all have applied this post in the reserved female category, but the appellant had willfully applied in open general category.
  4. That the respondent also contended that the appellant had applied for NCL certificate, after the notification of corrigendum on 09/03/2023 which shows the intentions of the appellant. 

Findings of the Apex Court-

The Apex Court held that the conduct of the appellant is bonafide, because the appellant was unable to produce NCL certificate, the honesty of the appellant did not let her answer YES to question that whether she belongs to Non Creamy Layer category. However, the respondent is allowing others to produce NCL certificate as per the corrigendum although that are defective application, the appellant cannot be deprived from the benefit of the corrigendum. The Apex Court also held that the High Court also adopted hyper- technical interpretation of the instructions which would nullify the effect of the corrigendum. 


The impugned order of High Court dated 23/08/2023 and Underlying Order of tribunal is set aside and the respondent is directed to treat the appellant as the candidate of reserved female category.


  1. Website- Indian Kanoon-


  1. Website- High court of Bombay 


  1. Website- Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal, Mumbai 


This article is written by Amanpreet Kaur, Advocate, graduated from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Intern at LegalVidiya.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are intended solely for informational purposes. Accessing or using the site or the materials does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information presented on this site is not to be construed as legal or professional advice, and it should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Additionally, the viewpoint presented by the author is of a personal nature.


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