This Article is written by Saksham Suneja student of Modi Law College, Kota.


CITATION-M.A. No. 26141 of 2019 of SLP (Civil) No. 23223 of 2018

CORAM– Justice UdayUmeshLalit, Justice S. RavindraBhat and, Justice Hrishikesh Roy


JUDGMENT- 18 DEC, 2020



  1. In Uttar Pradesh (UP) more than 30,000 vacancies were taken out by the Government for the post of Civil Police Constable.
  2. The 3295 vacancies were fixed for General Category and out of which 188 seats were given to Women.
  3. The last woman who was selected under the general or open category scored a total of 8298 marks.
  4. The question arose in this case when the 21 female candidates of the Other Backward Class (OBC) Category denied selection even after they scored more marks than the 274.8298, earned by the last female candidate of General Category.
  5. There are two types of reservation:-
  • VERTICAL RESERVATION– Article 15(4) and Article 16(4) of the Indian Constitution provide reservations to different castes such as Schedule Caste(SC), Schedule Tribe(ST), and Other backward Class (OBC).
  • HORIZONTAL RESERVATION– It provides reservation or a benefit to other categories such as women, veterans, transgender community, freedom fighters, and differently-abled persons.

Article 15(3) of the Constitution explains Horizontal Reservation.


  1. The High Court of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh held that when it comes to the adjustment of Horizontal Reservation, a reserved category candidate could apply under their category only and not to the seats of unreserved category.
  2. But the High Court of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Uttrakhand rejected the absurd view of both the High Courts and gave a Contrary judgment that if a candidate of reserved category qualifies the merit, he/she can be selected under the open category.
  3. After, through the Special Leave petition, the matter finally reached the Apex Court of India.



  1. Is providing reservation to any category against the law?
  2. Whether the reserved category candidate can be selected under the open category if they qualify the merit?
  3. Is the open category a quota for Upper Caste or General Category?



  1. Article 15(3):-Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children
  2. Article 15(4)– Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  3. Article16 (4):- Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.



Supreme Court while giving the judgment took a note of several landmark judgments:-

  • Indra Sawhney v. Union of India:-

In this case, Court explained the meaning of vertical and horizontal reservation and their relationship. Court held that Article 15(4) & 16 (4) of the Indian Constitution elucidate the provision of reservation for SC, ST, and OBC.

They stated that the Horizontal reservation that provides benefit to the different class like; women, veterans, disabled person, “cut across the vertical reservation”.


  • Anil Kumar Gupta and Ors. v. The State of UP &Ors. -:

In this case, Court held that reservation should be compartmentalized and elaborates the proper steps to be undertaken while registering for the seats of horizontal and vertical reservation.


  • Mamta Bisht v. The State of Uttaranchal:-

The Court adopted a similar view in this case too and held that all reserved category candidates have a right to compete for the open category if they qualify the merit and the no. of the reserved candidate selected under Open Category will not counter the no. of seats or quota fixed for reserved category.


In the case,SauravYadav v. The State of UP, the three-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by Justice UdayUmeshLalit, Justice S. RavinderBhat, and Justice Hrishikesh Roy unanimously rejected the notion of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Government and held that the candidate of a reserved category can be selected under “open or unreserved category” if they qualify the merit.

Court also tried to explain the meaning and intersection of vertical and horizontal reservation.

The Supreme Court declared in Saurav Yadav judgment that any female candidate who had scored more than 274.8298 marks will be considered as a constable in UP police and it will not affect the selection of any general category women who had already cleared the mark of merit.



By Justice Lalit:-

  • Any group of reserved category can’t be excluded from the seats reserved for open category, on the ground that they belong to some reserved category
  • Denying their selection on the ground, that they do not belong to the open category will lead to the infringement of Article 14 and Article 16 (1), their Fundamental Rights
  • The selection should always be made based on MERIT.
  • Lalit remarked that UP Government was itself reserving the seats of open category for the unreserved class, which was unlawful and unfair.

By Justice S. Bhat:-

  • He gave a concurring judgment in Saurav Yadav Case that there is no rule which forbids the contemplation of women of reserved category in the open category.
  • The Open Category is not a reservation or quota for the upper class; it is for all women and men alike.



  1. Anil Kumar Gupta and Ors. v. The State of UP & Ors. (1995) S.C.C. (5) 173 (India).
  2. AishwaryaAsthana, An Analysis of the Supreme Court of India’s Decision in SauravYadav v. State of Uttar Pradesh on Reservation (January 25, 2021)
  3. India CONST. art15, cl.3&4 and, art16, cl4 .
  4. IndraSawhney v. Union of India A.I.R 1993 SC 477 (India).
  5. MamtaBisht v. The State of Uttaranchal, (2015) WPCRL No.296 (India).