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The State of Tamil Nadu and Ors. Vs. G. Hemalathaa and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (28 Aug 2019)

High Court cannot modify/relax Instructions issued by Commission which are mandatory in nature



In facts of present case, the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission ('the Commission') issued a Notification dated 9th April, 2018 inviting applications from eligible candidates for filling up 320 vacancies to the posts of Civil Judges. The Respondent was successful in the preliminary examination. The written test was conducted and results of the written test were and the name of the Respondent did not appear in the list of successful candidates. Interviews were conducted and the final results of successful candidates were published.

The Respondent came to know that, another candidate belonging to the same community to which she belongs (Most Backward Class) was selected in spite of her performance not being satisfactory. The Respondent made a representation to the Commission to furnish her marks in the written examination. The Commission conveyed to the Respondent that, her Law Paper 1 written examination was invalidated in view of violation of the Instructions to Applicants (hereinafter referred to as 'the Instructions') issued by the Commission.

The Respondent filed a Writ Petition in the High Court. The High Court directed the Commission to announce the results of the Respondent in Law Paper-1 of the main written examination. If she was found qualified, the Commission was directed to conduct the interview of the Respondent as a special case. The Commission was further directed to complete the exercise and announce the final result of the Respondent within a period of four weeks. Being dissatisfied with the said judgment of the High Court, this appeal is filed.

The Instructions issued by the Commission are mandatory, having the force of law and they have to be strictly complied with. Strict adherence to the terms and conditions of the Instructions is of paramount importance. The High Court in exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot modify/relax the Instructions issued by the Commission. The High Court after summoning and perusing the answer sheet of the Respondent was convinced that, there was infraction of the Instructions. However, the High Court granted the relief to the Respondent on a sympathetic consideration on humanitarian ground.

In spite of the finding that there was no adherence to the Instructions, the High Court granted the relief, ignoring the mandatory nature of the Instructions. It cannot be said that, such exercise of discretion should be affirmed, especially when such direction is in the teeth of the Instructions which are binding on the candidates taking the examinations. Judgment of the High Court cannot be approved as any order in favour of the candidate who has violated the mandatory Instructions would be laying down bad law. The judgment of the High Court is set aside. Appeal is allowed.


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