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Avinash C. and Ors. Vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (04 Apr 2018)

If selection is found to be tainted in any manner, it is always open to concerned authority to annul such selection to maintain purity of selection process



Present matter arises out of Selection conducted by the Karnataka Public Service Commission ("KPSC") pursuant to Notification dated 3rd November, 2011 for filling up 362 posts of the Group 'A' and Group 'D' in the State of Karnataka. Examinations were conducted on 22nd April, 2012. Written tests for mains were conducted. Interviews were held.

There were complaints of mal-practices and irregularities in the conduct of examinations as well as the interviews. It was alleged that, there were demands of bribes from candidates. The FIR was lodged against Chairman, Member and some officials of the KPSC. On receipt of the interim report of CID dated 10th September, 2013, the State Government on 15th December, 2013 directed annulment of evaluation of written examination as well as the personality test. The KPSC however, published the select list. The State Government withdrew the requisition for appointments on 14th August, 2014.

The above order was challenged by the successful candidates before the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal. The Tribunal vide order quashed the decision of the State Government and directed appointment of the selected candidates. Some selected candidates have been given appointments. The order of the Tribunal was challenged before the High Court. The High Court by the impugned order set aside the order of the Tribunal. The High Court observed that appointment of ineligible, inefficient or persons of questionable integrity has serious adverse impact on working of the Government and is anathema to the Rule of law. Best selection to Government service was the mandate of the Constitution. No right accrued to candidates merely by being in the select list. Thus, the Tribunal was in error in directing appointment of persons validity of whose selection was seriously doubted by the Government.

The High Court has referred to material on record in the form of call details between candidates and members of the KPSC. All the members who interviewed the candidates awarded exactly the same marks to particular candidates. There was no objective assessment by individual members. There appeared to be extraneous reasons in awarding the marks. 566 candidates were awarded same marks which appeared to be pre-determined. Digital video recorder in the KPSC building was replaced to destroy evidence. In this view of the matter, there is no ground to interfere with the view of the High Court that, the selection could not have been sustained.

If the selection is found to be tainted in any manner, it is always open to the concerned authority to annul such selection to maintain purity of the selection process. It may not always be necessary to segregate tainted and untainted candidates when the process itself is tainted. Moreover, at pre-appointment stage, decision to cancel the selection process can be interfered only if it is patently arbitrary, malafide or illegal. In the present case, the High Court has rightly applied the parameters and found no case for interference with the decision to annul the selection.

It is submitted that, the written examination is not vitiated by any irregularity and the same can be sustained. Interviews can be held again. Since the contention does not appear to have been raised before the High Court, the Apex Court permitted this contention to be now raised by either of the parties by moving the High Court within two weeks. If such an application is moved, the High Court may examine the same on merits. If the High Court finds that, the written examination is free from any blemish, the High Court may consider restoration of the result of the written examination and further selection process to be conducted. It will also be open to the High Court to direct re-evaluation of scripts of all the candidates or to sustain the cancellation of result of the written examination so that fresh selection can be held. The appeals are disposed of.


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