Madras High Court dismisses plea seeking preference for inter-caste marriage candidates in Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission
The Madras High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking direction to provide preference to inter-caste marriage candidates in employment being made through all channels, including the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission.
Petitioner A.P. Gowdhama Sidharthan appeared in person before the High Court. He argued that in 2019, the Government of Rajasthan has brought a special law against manslaughter and it was further held that love marriage was not an offence.
He further submitted that in 1991, the Supreme Court had laid down rules for the protection of inter-caste couples and recommended strict punishment against those who committed manslaughter.
The petitioner further submitted that if two majors belonging to different castes get married on their own volition and against the will of the parents, they are being ostracized and are not allowed to participate in any family function.
He prayed that the government should come forward to provide preference in government employment to the persons opting for inter-caste marriage, since they were being punished for no reason.
P. Muthukumar, State Government Pleader appearing on behalf of the respondents, submitted that there was no cause of action to maintain the public interest litigation and the petitioner is not an affected person. He also submitted that, in service matters, a public interest litigation is not maintainable.
State Government Pleader drawing the High Court attention to the proceedings dated 20.9.2022 issued by the Deputy Secretary to Government, Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, submitted that when the petitioner’s request was already turned down making it clear that the priority in the matters of employment can only be given in cases of recruitment through employment exchange and similar benefit/concession cannot be given in cases of recruitment made by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, without challenging the same, the present petition has been filed and, therefore, the petition has to be dismissed.
The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice T.Raja and Justice Paresh Upadhyay held that it is trite law that no public interest litigation shall be entertained in service matters.
In Duryodhan Sahu v. Jitendra Kumar Mishra, (1998) 7 SCC 273, a Three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that a public interest litigation is not maintainable in service matters. It is observed in paragraph (18) of the judgment supra, as under: “18. … If public interest litigations at the instance of strangers are allowed to be entertained by the Tribunal, the very object of speedy disposal of service matters would get defeated.’
The prayer made in this public interest litigation is to alter the preference to be given to inter-caste marriage candidates while undertaking recruitment through the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. The petitioner, being a stranger, the Court held that he cannot maintain a public interest litigation in the light of the decision of the Apex Court in Duryodhan Sahu v. Jitendra Kumar Mishra, supra.
That apart, if the petitioner is aggrieved by the proceedings dated 20.9.2022 issued by the Deputy Secretary to Government, Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, rejecting an identical prayer made by him, he ought to have challenged the same in the manner known to law, but for reasons best known to him, the petitioner has not challenged the said proceedings , observed the Bench.