The Supreme Court has said the Union Public Service Commission cannot reject a candidate for misspelling or entering a wrong date of birth on the job application.
A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit dismissed a special leave petition filed by the UPSC against a Delhi High Court judgement, directing the country’s highest recruitment body to clear the selection of Ajay Kumar Mishra to the National Defence Academy.
Rejecting the UPSC’s contention against the judgement of December 23, the bench agreed with the plea by Mishra's counsel that the selection of candidates could not be rejected for such minor mistakes. While filling up the application form for admission to NDA, Mishra erroneously entered his date of birth as July 11, 1998 instead of July 10, 1998.
“The UPSC should have some elbow room to consider these kind of errors,” the bench said. The bench said it was open to considering all these matters, disregarding a contention by the UPSC counsel that the courts will be flooded with such cases.
In the current case, when Mishra noticed the mistake in his date of birth while downloading the admit card, he brought it to the notice of the authorities.
Meanwhile, he appeared in written test, interview and medical examination and cleared them successfully. However, he was not allowed to rectify the mistake. Instead, his candidature was cancelled.
On a writ petition, the HC directed the UPSC to clear his selection. “After a candidate has participated in the selection process and cleared all the stages successfully, his candidature can only be cancelled after careful scrutiny of the gravity of the lapse, and not for trivial omissions or errors,” the HC said. The HC also noted that this appeared to be a case of an “inadvertent mistake”, where 11 was typed instead of 10 for the date of birth.
Mishra could not have gained anything by giving the wrong date of birth. Moreover, the petitioner was required to submit his school certificate containing his date of birth, it added.