Srinagar, Mar 13: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday directed the Public Service Commission (PSC) to quash the ongoing Kashmir Administration Services (KAS) Mains examination.
A division bench of Justice Janak Raj Kotwal and Justice Sanjeev Kumar Shukla directed the PSC to conduct the examination afresh, after disposing of an appeal filed by the recruiting agency against an order allowing 429 candidates to appear in the examination.
After holding preliminary examination, the PSC declared 6,925 out of 47,000 candidates qualified to write the KAS Mains examination.
The cut-off mark was declared as 270.477 out of aggregate of 450 marks.
However, after considering representations of candidates on wrong answer key, the commission issued a revised list with cut off merit 277.275, as a result of which 429 candidates who were figuring in un-revised list were excluded.
The 429 candidates were debarred by the PSC from appearing in the Mains examination after it evaluated the preliminary results following the representations that answer key was wrong.
“We direct the cancellation of the main examination at whatever stage it is as on date and direct the appellant (PSC) to hold the main examination afresh,” said the Bench.
The court directed the PSC to permit the candidates (429), who have been shortlisted to participate in the preliminary examination on the basis of their merit determined upon re-evaluation of the preliminary exam.
“It also directed the PSC to permit 429 candidates who were shortlisted in the first result of the preliminary examination but couldn’t participate in the main exam on the basis of their merit determined by the process of re-evaluation,” reads the court order.
The court also directed the PSC to allow 2365 candidates who have obtained higher merit in the process of re-evaluation equal to or more than the marks secured by the last candidate amongst 429 candidates.
“Since the examination in question has been delayed due to litigation, we hope and trust that the appellant (PSC) make immediate steps to hold the main examination and complete the whole process culminating into declaration of result without any further wastage of time,” the bench said.
Soon after the High Court order, the commission announced the deferment of the exams till further orders.
“It is hereby notified for information of all the concerned candidates that the examination for papers scheduled to be held on March 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22 and 24 of J&K Combined Competitive (Main) examination, 2016 is hereby deferred till further orders. Fresh notification for the of J&K Combined Competitive (Main) examination, 2016 shall be issued accordingly,” the official order says.
Sunita Anand, Secretary PSC, said that for now, they have deferred the exams.
“We will see what will be the future course of action,” she said.
When asked, why the commission conducted the exams despite knowing there was a petition lodged against it, she said, “We didn’t know it. If we would have known it, we shouldn’t have wasted our time, money, staff and resources.”
Meanwhile, the candidates who appeared in the mains exams lambast PSC for jeopardizing their careers.
“I missed by Ph. D, SET, and Information Assistant exams because of this. I left my job to appear in this exam, which the commission held despite knowing that a case was pending in the court. Where will we go now?” said Hamid, a candidate appearing in the Mains exam.
Another candidate, Feroz Ahmad said: “They are playing with our careers. It took two years to conduct this exam and now again; the fate of the exams hangs in balance.”
Last year, an RTI revealed that PSC is facing 500 cases against it in the Jammu and Kashmir High court and eight cases are also pending against it in the Supreme Court.