Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday directed the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) to cancel the ongoing mains examination of Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) 2016 and to hold the examination afresh so that 2,794 candidates can participate in the examination.
“We direct cancellation of mains examination at whatever stage it is on date and direct the appellant (JKPSC) to hold the mains examination afresh by allowing the respective candidates to participate in the examination,” the court said.
On December 30, 2017, a single bench of Justice MK Hanjura had directed the JKPSC to allow 429 disqualified candidates to sit in the mains examinations, but that was challenged by JKPSC before a division bench by citing the reason that if they allow these 429 candidates to sit in the exam, then they have to allow 2,365 candidates more to do so as well.
The JKPSC had argued before the division bench, “If we allow 429 candidates, the cut-off merit will reduce to 260.892 marks and the commission has to take all the candidates who have secured marks above 260 and the number of these candidates is about 2,365.”
The division bench comprising Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal remarked that keeping these 2,365 candidates out of the process of selection would be doing great injustice to such candidates and would generate unnecessary litigations.
The court said, “429 candidates who were ousted after the declaration of the revised merit list and 2,365 candidates who obtained merit in the preliminary examinations determined in the process of re-evaluation equal to or more than the marks secured by the last candidate amongst aforesaid 429 candidates should be given equal fair chance in the selection process.”
The court further said that as the examination has been delayed, the authorities shall take immediate steps to hold the mains examination and complete the whole process without any further delay.
In February this year, the court had reserved its judgement after hearing Advocate Azhar-ul-Amin representing JKPSC and Advocate Zaffar Shah representing aggrieved candidates.
On 18-06-2016, the JKPSC, vide notification NO. PSC/EXM/2016/52, advertised 277 posts in Junior Scale of J&K Administrative Service, J&K Police Service and J&K Accounts Service, and applications were invited for KAS Preliminary Examination.
JKPSC through a notification dated 23-04-2017 had declared 6,925 out of 47,000 candidates to have qualified for the KAS Mains Examination. The cut-off was declared as 270.477 points.
JKPSC released another revised merit list where it set 277.275 points as cut-off, thus excluding 429 candidates who were declared eligible in the first merit list.
The 429 aggrieved candidates filed a petition before the HC against the commission, through their counsel Arif Sikandar Mir.
Advocate Mir said that the Commission had violated Supreme Court orders by revising the cut-off in the merit list.
The court then ordered “that the Commission shall treat the writ petitions of the petitioners as representations and consider the same in accordance with the law within a period of four weeks and the result thereof shall be communicated to the petitioners.”
The Commission, instead of deciding the petitions of the petitioners, issued a notification bearing No. PSC/Exam/2017/49 dated 25.08.2017, declaring 429 candidates ineligible for the mains examination.