Minor Mistake in Application Form is not ground for Rejection : Supreme Court

minor mistake in application form

Minor Mistake in Application Form

Question of Law: Can a minor mistake in Application Form filled online for any post disqualify the Candidate?  

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has considered the issue entirety and condoned the minor mistakes in online application of merit candidates.

Facts of the Case

Shri Vashist Narayan Kumar hails from a small village in Bihar. He belongs to the downtrodden segment of the society.

The petitioner aspired to become a Police Constable and had applied for the said post under the reserved category.

He also cleared the written examination and the Physical Eligibility Test.

The appellant submitted his educational certificates/mark sheet as well as his caste certificate for document verification.

In the final result Respondent declared him failed because he filled his date of birth as 08.12.1997.

But in the school mark sheet, his date of birth is 18.12.1997.

Thereafter, the appellant represented and thereafter having failed to receive any response, filed a writ petition before the High Court.

Submission of Writ Petitioner in High Court

He submitted before the High Court that he filed application form cyber café and while filling up the form, by an inadvertent error, he filled the date of birth as “08.12.1997” instead of “18.12.1997”.

The Petitioner derived no benefit from it as either way he fulfilled the eligibility criteria and the age requirement.

He prayed for the relief in the nature of a mandamus to the respondents to consider his claim for selection and direct them to issue an appointment letter treating the date of birth as 18.12.1997, as reflected in his educational certificates.

Submission of Respondent in High Court

The respondents vehemently opposed the writ petition that candidates should correctly mention their date of birth according to their 10th board certificate.

Respondents has right to cancel candidature if any discrepancy in application form. 

That the candidate should read the instructions carefully before filling the application form.

The advertisement also mentioned the method of making corrections and that the appellant never availed that facility.

Consideration and Decision by High Court

The learned Single Judge held that since incorrect information was provided, no relief could be given.

The appellant filed a Letters Patent Appeal to the Division Bench, which has been dismissed by the impugned order.

The Division Bench, while affirming the order of the learned Single Judge, additionally recorded a finding that the appellant had not sought for quashing of the result, as declared on 11.06.2018, on the website.

Appeal before Supreme Court of India

Being aggrieved, the appellant filed Civil Appeal before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court considered the issue entirety in following manner: –

Supreme Court Judgments on Minor Mistake in Application Form 

The judgment in Ajay Kumar Mishra vs. Union of India & Ors., [2016] SCC OnLine Del 6563, a case very similar to the facts of the present case, in which this Court held :-

“9. It is true that whenever any material discrepancy is noticed in the application form and/or when any suppression and/ or mis-representation is detected, the candidature might be cancelled even after the application has been processed and the candidate has been allowed to participate in the selection process. However, 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.”

In Anuj Pratap Singh vs. Union Public Service Commission, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 10982), as is clear from para 14 of the said judgment, the candidate unable to correct the error at the first point was forced to repeat it while submitting the application for sitting in the main exam since he had no other option. The Court accepted the explanation and condoned the error in the filling up of the column pertaining to the date of birth.

Conclusion by Supreme Court  

The Supreme Court allowed the Civil Appeal and set aside the judgment of High Court and directed the respondent-State to treat the appellant as a candidate who has “passed”, in the selection process held under the advertisement issued by the Central Selection Board (Constable Recruitment), Patna with the date of birth as 18.12.1997.

The Court further directed to consider for appointment letter.

The Court further directed that, in the event of there being no vacancy, appointment letter will still have to be issued on the special facts of this case. We make the said direction, in exercise of powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India.

Supreme Court further directed that the State will be at liberty in that event to adjust the vacancy in the next recruitment that they may resort to in the coming years.

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