Case Analysis of Mrs. Valasamma Paul vs. Cochin University & Ors.

Sanya Pahouja
Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi, India

Volume II – Issue II, 2021

There were two vacant posts for Lecturers in Cochin University which were notified for recruitment. One post was reserved for Latin Catholics(backward class). The appellant, a Syrian Catholic, having married a Latin Catholic, applied for selection as a reserved candidate. The University selected her accordingly. Her appointment was challenged by another candidate via a Writ Petition, praying to appoint the petitioner in appellant’s place to the said post. The writ petition was approved and it was held that the appointment should be made strictly in accordance with Rules 14 to 17 of the Kerala State Subordinate Service Rules. This decision was challenged by the appellant in front of a Decision Bench and the appellant cited the judgment of Dr. Kaniamma Alex v. PSC which had been upheld in PSC v. Dr. Kanjama Alex. The Division Bench was unsure of Dr. Kanjamma Alex case’s decision and referred the matter to Full Bench of Kerala High Court who opined that Article 15(4) and 16(4)[1] were meant for advancement of socially and educationally backward classes. To include candidates as members of backward communities because of marriage would be a mockery of Constitution and would defeat the purpose for which the special provisions had been enacted. It held that the appellant being a Syrian Catholic by birth could not claim the status of backward caste by her marriage to a Latin Catholic and was not entitled to reservation u/Art 15(4) and 16(4)[2]. A Special Leave Petition u/Art 136[3] was filed in SC against the decision of the Full Bench.


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