In a significant ruling today, the Supreme Court intervened to rectify an inadvertent error affecting the candidature of an individual aspiring to become a Police Constable. The appellant faced disqualification due to a minor inconsistency in his application form regarding his date of birth, causing his ultimate non-selection despite successfully completing all stages of the selection process.

The appellant, hailing from an underprivileged background and applying under the reserved category, inadvertently provided two different birth dates: December 8, 1997, in the online application form and December 18, 1997, in his school mark sheet. This inconsistency led to the cancellation of his candidature by the respondent-authorities, despite meeting all other eligibility criteria.

Highlighting the peculiar circumstances, a Division Bench comprising Justices JK Maheshwari and KV Viswanathan admonished the State’s disproportionate response, stating that considering the birth date mentioned in the Class 10th certificate, the appellant should be regarded as having ‘passed’ the selection process. The Court directed the authorities to reconsider the appellant’s case, emphasizing that if not disqualified on other grounds, he should be issued the necessary appointment letter.

The appellant’s representation and subsequent legal recourse, initiated after receiving no response from the authorities, showcased the efforts made to rectify the inadvertent error. Despite the stipulation in the advertisement mandating candidates to accurately mention their date of birth as per the Class 10th certificate, the appellant, aided by a Cyber café operator in a nearby town due to lack of resources in his remote village, unintentionally provided incorrect information.

Both the Single Judge and the Division Bench of the High Court upheld the cancellation, despite acknowledging the error as the appellant’s unintended mistake. However, the Supreme Court, citing precedents and legal principles, emphasized that candidatures should not be annulled for trivial errors or omissions, particularly when they do not influence the final outcome.

The Bench referred to previous rulings, emphasizing that the law does not concern itself with trifles, and errors of this nature, being inadvertent and without impact on the result, should not result in disqualification. They dismissed the argument that the error constituted wrong or misleading information, especially since the State had not pursued criminal action against the appellant.

Addressing the contention that the appellant had signed a form carrying the incorrect date of birth, the Court accepted his explanation that the signature was mechanical, and he was unaware of the discrepancy in the online version.

Moreover, the Bench highlighted the appellant’s prayer in the writ petition seeking consideration of his candidature with the correct date of birth and issuance of an appointment letter. They underscored the Writ Court’s power to ensure justice, emphasizing that technicalities should not impede the dispensation of fair relief.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s decision, reiterating the importance of evaluating the gravity of errors before canceling candidatures, especially when they are inadvertent and have no substantial bearing on the final outcome.

Advocate Shaswati Parhi represented the appellant, while Advocate Azmat Hayat Amanullah represented the respondent(s) in the case titled *Vashist Narayan Kumar v. The State of Bihar & Ors.* (Civil Appeal No.1/2024), cited as 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 1.

The ruling serves as a significant precedent, emphasizing fairness and discretion in considering inadvertent errors in applications, ensuring that individuals are not penalized for trivial mistakes that do not impact their eligibility or the final outcome of the selection process.

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