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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Karnataka Public Service Commission ("KPSC") pursuant to Notification dated 3.11.2011 for filling up 362 posts of the Group 'A' and Group 'D' in the State of Karnataka - There were complaints of mal-practices and irregularities in the conduct of examinations as well as the interviews. It was inter alia alleged that there were demands of bribes from candidates. - 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. We do not express any opinion on merits of the rival contentions which will be open to be gone into by the High Court. The High Court may take a decision in the matter at the earliest preferably within a period of three months from the date the High Court is moved.

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 3543-3555 OF 2018
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 7166-7178 of 2018)
AVINASH C. & ORS. APPELLANT(S)
 VERSUS
STATE OF KARNATAKA & ORS. RESPONDENT(S)
O R D E R
1. We have heard learned counsel for the parties
who have entered appearance. Having regard to the
nature of the order proposed, we do not consider it
necessary to issue notice to all the parties who are
not represented.
2. The matter arises out of Selection conducted by
the Karnataka Public Service Commission ("KPSC")
pursuant to Notification dated 3.11.2011 for filling up
362 posts of the Group 'A' and Group 'D' in the State
of Karnataka. Examinations were conducted on
22.04.2012. Written tests for mains were conducted
between 15.12.2012 and 16.01.2013. Interviews were
held between 01-04-2013 and 27.05.2013.
3. There were complaints of mal-practices and
irregularities in the conduct of examinations as well
as the interviews. It was inter alia alleged that there
were demands of bribes from candidates. The FIR was
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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
14.08.2014.
4. The above order was challenged by the successful
candidates before the Karnataka Administrative
Tribunal. The Tribunal vide order dated 19th October,
2016 quashed the decision of the State Government and
directed appointment of the selected candidates. Some
selected candidates have been given appointments.
5. 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
concluded thus:
"55. Resultantly, these writ petitions
eminently deserve to be allowed and
accordingly:
a) Writ Petition Nos. 13617-13627/2017 &
14529/2017 and Writ Petition No. 11342/2017
are allowed;
b) Common order dated 19.10.2016 passed by
the Karnataka State Administrative
Tribunal, Bangalore, in Applications No.
6268/2014 to 6395/2014 c/w 6432/2014 to
6444/2014, 6446/2014 to 6459/2014,
6597/2014 & 6598/2014, 7464/2014, 7941/2014
to 7946/2014, 7950/2014 to 7966/2014,
7967/2014, 7968/2014, 7969/2014, 9112/2014
to 9126/2014, 9592/2014 to 9610/2014 and
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8298/2015, is quashed.
c) Un-Official Note, Un-Official Note No.
139 CASu 139 SaLoSa 2016 dated 17.3.2017,
issued by Deputy Secretary, DPAR Services,
Government of Karnataka, is quashed;
d) Official Memorandum, Official
Memorandum No. 19457 DMA 32 KaMAS 2016-17
dated 27.03.2017, issued by Director,
Municipal Administration, Bengaluru, is
quashed;
e) All orders of appointment/s issued
pursuant to Final Select List dated
21.03.2014 prepared by KPSC are declared
illegal and shall stand quashed; and
f) Government Order, Government Order No.
CaaSuE 53 SaLoSa 2014, Bangalore dated
14.8.2014, withdrawing requisitions issued
to KPSC for selection of Gazetted
Probationers for 2011, and to close
selection process, is sustained."
6. The High Court observed that appointment of
ineligible, inefficient or persons of questionable
integrity has serious adverse impact on the 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.
7. We find that 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
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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, we do not find any 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
these parameters and found no case for interference
with the decision to annul the selection.
8. Learned counsel for some of the parties
submitted that the written examination is not vitiated
by any irregularity and the same can be sustained.
Interviews can be held again.
9. Since this contention does not appear to have
been raised before the High Court we permit this
contention to be now raised by either of the parties by
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moving the High Court within two weeks from today. 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. We do not express any opinion on merits of
the rival contentions which will be open to be gone
into by the High Court. The High Court may take a
decision in the matter at the earliest preferably
within a period of three months from the date the High
Court is moved.
The appeals are disposed of in the aforesaid
terms.
…...…................J.
(ADARSH KUMAR GOEL)
...….…................J.
(ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN)
NEW DELHI,
APRIL 4, 2018

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