Senthilnathan R
Asked July 12, 2016

Differntial upper age limit for TNPSC Examinations Unfair?

  • 1 Answer

I want to sue PIL against Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) regarding upper age limit for TNPSC examinations. For OC(General) Category, upper age limit is 30 Years only while for BC/MBC/SC/ST Categories it is for 40 years. It seems like that the opportunities for participating TNPSC examinations seems to be refused/reduced for General Category compared to other Categories ( BC/MBC/SC/ST). I totally agree that reservation for minority community is mandatory for their development, but as per constitution, these reservations are valid for limited period of time. But government irrespective of ruling party keep this provision extended for their political gains. As per Fundamental Rights, every citizen should be given equal opportunities for practicing their profession. Can you please provide your valuable counseling and help me out whether if we can sue in this regard and also kindly let me know what is the procedure for filing PIL. Thank You very much in advance

Answer 1

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Saurabh Kumar

The underlying theory for the provision of reservation by the state is the under-representation of the identifiable groups as a legacy of the Indian caste system.

After India gained independence, the Constitution of India listed some erstwhile groups as Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The framers of the Constitution believed that, due to the caste system, SCs and the STs were historically oppressed and denied respect and equal opportunity in Indian society and were thus under-represented in nation-building activities. The Constitution laid down 15% and 7.5% of vacan­cies to government aided educational institutes and for jobs in the government/public sector, as reserved quota for the SC and ST candidates respectively for a period of five years, after which the situation was to be reviewed.

The Supreme Court ruling that reservations cannot exceed 50% (which it judged would violate equal access guaranteed by the Constitution) has put a cap on reservations.  (Indira Sawhney Judgement). The central government of India reserves 27% of higher education, and individual states may legislate further reservations. Reservation in most states is at 50%, but certain Indian states like Rajasthan have proposed a 68% reservation that includes a 14% reservation for forward castes in services and education.


In this case, if you can prove that the upper age limit so granted is unfair and does not in any way help promote the welfare of the downtrodden, only then will filing a PIL be successful. It is advised that you take expert legal help and refer to NGOs and institutions specialising in governance and public policy like Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy at-  to understand if there is any co-relation between age and reservation.


A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) can be filed in any High Court or directly in the Supreme Court. It is not necessary that the petitioner has suffered some injury of his own or has had personal grievance to litigate. PIL is a right given to the socially conscious member or a public spirited NGO to espouse a public cause by seeking judicial for redressal of public injury. Such injury may arise from breach of public duty or due to a violation of some provision of the Constitution. Public interest litigation is the device by which public participation in judicial review of administrative action is assured. It has the effect of making judicial process little more democratic.


According to the guidelines of the Supreme Court any member of public having sufficient interest may maintain an action or petition by way of PIL provided: - 

» There is a personal injury or injury to a disadvantaged section of the population for whom access to legal justice system is difficult,

» The person bringing the action has sufficient interest to maintain an action of public injury, 

» The injury must have arisen because of breach of public duty or violation of the Constitution or of the law, 


PIL cases where the petitioner is not in a position to provide all the necessary evidence, either because it is voluminous or because the parties are weak socially or economically, courts have appointed commissions to collect information on facts and present it before the bench.   

When and how to File a PIL 1.Make an informed decision to file a case.  2.Consult all affected interest groups who are possible allies. 

3.Be careful in filing a case because 

i.Litigation can be expensive. 

ii.Litigation can be time consuming. 

iii.Litigation can take away decision making capability/strength from communities. 

iv.An adverse decision can affect the strength of the movement. 

v.Litigation involvement can divert the attention of the community away from the real issues. 4.If you have taken the decision

i.Collect all the relevant information 

ii.Be meticulous in gathering detail for use in the case. If you plan to use photographs, retain the negatives and take an affidavit from the photographer. Retain bills. 

iii.Write to the relevant authorities and be clear about your demands. 

iv.Maintain records in an organized fashion. 

v.Consult a lawyer on the choice of forum. 

vi.Engage a competent lawyer. If you are handling the matter yourself make sure you get good legal advice on the drafting. 

vii.A PIL can be filed only by a registered organization. If you are unregistered, please file the PIL in the name of an office bearer/member in his/her personal capacity. 

viii.You may have to issue a legal notice to the concerned parties/authorities before filing a PIL. Filing a suit against the government would require issuing a notice to the concerned officer department at least two months prior to filing.





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