Srinagar, Dec 30: In a major relief to the KAS aspirants who were not allowed to sit in Preliminary exams, High Court today directed the Public Service Commission (PSC) to allow them to sit in the Main exams.
Justice M K Hanjura said the PSC flouted the earlier Court order with impunity and did not pay any regard to the order and directed it to allow the candidates figuring in first list as also those figuring in revised list to sit and participate in the main exams.
Court after applying the ratio of the law and the rules to the facts of the case, said, it has to be construed and interpreted liberally in view of the facts and confronted with the situation, as it emerges from the petitions on hand, there are two possible, lawful and feasible ways to determine the controversy, that is the exercise of discretion by directing that the “candidates figuring in the first list issued by the Commission vide notification No. PSC/Exam/2017/22 dated 23rd of April, 2017, as also the candidates figuring in the revised list issued vide notification No. PSC/Exam/2017/44 dated 9th of August, 2017, shall be entitled and allowed to sit and participate in the main examination and they are permitted to apply on line for the vacancies detailed above within the time to be fixed by the respondent Commission”, Justice Hanjura directed.
The PSC instead of deciding the petitions of the petitioners issued a notification bearing No. PSC/Exam/2017/49 dated 25.08.2017 post haste declaring 429 candidates, who qualified the preliminary examination, eligible for the Main examination.
The notification also provided that the candidature of those 429 candidates who could not make it to the revised cutoff merit for appearing in the Main examination shall be deemed to have been rejected being ineligible and their Main examination fee shall be refunded.
Court in this connection recorded that the issuance of such a notification on the face of the order ‘smells foul’ and does not augur well particularly when the PSC admitted before this Court that they will accord consideration to the petition of the petitioners by passing verbal orders in them.
“The acts of the omission and commission attributed to the commission in such an eventuality appear to be wrapped with malafides and cannot in any manner be termed as fair”, read the judgment.
“Viewed thus, the respondents could not have revised the list issued earlier in point of time and the petitioners cannot be deprived of their right to participate in the main examination in view of preceding analysis”, Justice Hanjura said.
As regards the contention of the petitioners in other petition that fresh result of the J&K Combined Competitive Preliminary Examination, 2016, should be prepared in respect of each reserved category, however, the Court said the same is neither permissible nor tenable under the rules as the preliminary test has been conducted merely for screening the candidates eligible to be called in the main examination and therefore, the grant of this relief is rejected.
The J&K Public Service Commission issued the Notification No.PSC/EXM/ 2016/52 dated 18th June 2016, inviting online applications from the permanent residents of the Jammu and Kashmir State, for admission to the J&K Combined Competitive (Preliminary) Examination, 2016, in accordance with SRO 387 dated 01.12.2008 read with SRO 190 of 2016 dated 17.06.2016 and the J&K Public Service Commission (Conduct of Examination) Rules, 2005, to fill up 277 posts in the pay scale of Rs.9300-34800 with the grade pay of Rs.4800, in the various Services, viz. Junior Scale of J&K Administrative Service, J&K Police (Gazetted) Service and J&K Accounts (Gazetted) Service, referred by the General Administration Department, vide No.GAD (Ser) Genl/87/ 2014 dated 17.06.2016.
After inviting applications, Commission received 47122 applications. On 19th of March, 2017, the Preliminary Examination was conducted at 85 notified Sub-Centres, in Anantnag, Baramulla, Doda, Jammu, Kargil, Leh, Rajouri and Srinagar. 36,681 candidates appeared in the Preliminary Examination. The result qua the J&K Combined Competitive (Preliminary) Examination, 2016, held by the respondent Commission on 19.03.2016, was made public vide Notification No.PSC/Exam/2017/22 dated 23rd of April, 2017.
6925 candidates, including the present petitioners, were declared as qualified for admission to the J&K Combined Competitive (Main) Examination, 2016. The number of the candidates admitted to the Main Examination was in the proportion of 25 times of the total number of vacancies, which came to 6925 candidates in roll order, thereby making the last cut-off point as 270.477 marks out of aggregate of 450 marks.
The Notification also provided that the candidature of the candidates, who were declared to have qualified for the admission to the Main Examination was purely provisional and subject to the determination of the final eligibility at the time of submission of the application forms for the Main Examination, which was asked to be submitted through online mode, for which a separate notification was to be issued.
To receive the online applications from the qualified candidates, including the petitioners, PSC issued Notification No.PSC/ EXAM/2017/26 dated 9th May, 2017. However, Board vide Notice dated 14th of June, 2017, kept the result notified for the J&K Combined Competitive (Preliminary) Examination, 2016, in abeyance and Notification No.PSC/EXAM/ 2017/26 dated 9th of May,2017 along with Notice dated 6th of June, 2017 for inviting applications for J&K Combined Competitive (Main) Examination, 2016, was withdrawn.
The Commission revised the cut-off merit at 277.275 points and issued a revised result vide Notification No.PSC/Exam/ 2017/44 dated 9th of August, 2017, and the application form, if any, filed by 429 candidates, who could not make it to the revised cut-off merit of 277.275 for appearing in the Combined Services Competitive (Main) Examination 2016, have been deemed to have been rejected being ineligible and their examination fee refunded.
Court has held that a mess appears to have been created in the conduct of the examination by the Commission and public interest has been put at jeopardy. Court further added, that it is not understood why Rule 12(B) was deleted when it was certainly in the public interest. If the OMR sheets and Answer Keys are disclosed after the examination, it will be in the public interest and not in the so called protected interest of the Commission.
No semblance of fairness, Court said, can be attached to the statement of the Commission that the revised list was drawn after adhering to the norms and the rules which on the basis of the plea submitted by them before the Jammu wing of the High Court runs into complete contradiction.
“It does not portray the correct position as the Commission took a definite stand before the Court that they have adhered to all the norms, rules and the law governing the subject and have vehemently denied that there is any error in the list so prepared and published vide notification 23rd of April, 2017”, said the judgment.