SRINAGAR, Jan 30: After Apex Court gave go ahead to the Public Services Commission (PSC) with selection process of KAS and KPS officers, the State High Court today deferred the consideration of suo moto cognizance on digital evaluation of marks of recently held Combined Competitive Examination (CCE) and sought clarification from parties on maintainability of the PIL.
The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjeev Kumar had reserved its orders on the subject and today deferred the matter till clarification is sought either by the PSC or by any aggrieved party from the Supreme Court as to whether in view of the pendency of Special Leave Petition this Court can proceed to deal with the preliminary objection regarding maintainability of PIL.
“The matter shall be listed immediately on further orders from the Supreme Court”, the DB said. It added that, admittedly, the case at hand is a service matter. Therefore, it needs a decision first to be taken on preliminary objection, but the only impediment is pendency of the SLP.
“We are not clear as to whether the Supreme Court has left this Court free to proceed ahead with the case notwithstanding Special Leave Petition pending before that Court and deal with the preliminary objection.
In DB’s view, the order cannot be read in essence that the Supreme Court directed this Court to decide the PIL on its merits whether or not it is maintainable. “Therefore, we thought it proper to await further orders with reference to clarification from the Supreme Court which may be sought by the parties in appearance”, read the order.
The PIL was commenced after 83 applicants alleged irregularities on account of alleged data corruption and huge human error in the digital marking adopted for evaluation of answer scripts in the Combined Competitive (Mains) Examination held by the J&K Public Service Commission (from 02.07.2018 to 08.08.2018).
The Commission has filed a detailed reply in which it has not only furnished detailed information seeking to meet the points raised by the aggrieved persons, who had filed the representation (dated 17.12.2018), but has also taken preliminary objections to the maintainability of the PIL.
Advocate Javed Iqbal representing various aggrieved candidates submitted that some of the candidates have already challenged the action of the PSC in a writ petition with reference to shifting of mode and method of the evaluation of the answer papers from manual to digital screen evaluation and the same is expected to be listed for consideration before the Single Bench of this Court within a day or so. He submitted that the writ petition may be considered along with this PIL for consideration.
“Having considered the matter, we are of the view to deal with the preliminary objection of this PIL as supported by decisions of the Supreme Court and the Division Bench of this court”, the DB said.