JHARKHAND PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION Vs MANOJ KUMAR GUPTA
Bench: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE DEEPAK GUPTA, HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ANIRUDDHA BOSE
Judgment by: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE DEEPAK GUPTA
Case number: C.A. No.-009441-009441 / 2019
Diary number: 4188 / 2017
Advocates: HIMANSHU SHEKHAR Vs ABHISHEK VIKAS
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9441 OF 2019 (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO.14926 OF 2017)
JHARKHAND PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION …PETITIONER(S)
MANOJ KUMAR GUPTA AND ANR. …RESPONDENT(S)
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9442 OF 2019 (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 31106 OF 2017)
J U D G M E N T
Deepak Gupta, J.
The Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC) issued an
advertisement on 19.07.2006 inviting applications from
candidates desirous of competing in the Jharkhand Eligibility
Test (JET). This test is not meant for selection to any post but is
conducted to determine the eligibility of the candidates for
appointment as lecturers in universities and colleges of the State 1
of Jharkhand. This test called the State Level Eligibility Test
(SLET) is conducted as per the guidelines laid down by the
University Grants Commission (UGC).
2. The test consists of three papers – the first two papers are
multiple choice questions to be answered on an Optical Mark
Reader (OMR). One test is of a general subject and one test is of
the subject for which the candidate applies. The third paper is a
descriptive type question paper dealing only with the subject
selected by the candidate. Relevant portion of the advertisement
reads as follows:
“A candidate who does not appear in PaperI will not be permitted to appear in PaperII and PaperIII. PaperIII will be evaluated only for those candidates who are able to secure the minimum qualifying marks in PaperI and PaperII as per the table given in the following:
CATEGORY MINIMUM QUALIFYING MARKS
PAPERI PAPERII PAPERI
GENERAL/OBC 40 40 100 (50%)
PH/VH 35 35 90 (45%)
SC/ST 35 35 80 (40%)
3. The writ petitioner obtained 50% marks in Papers I and II
but he did not do as well in Paper III. The JPSC fixed a cut off
percentage of 60 for Paper III which the writ petitioner did not
attain and as such he was declared not successful and, therefore,
ineligible to be considered for appointment as lecturer.
4. Aggrieved by the said action, the writ petitioner filed a writ
petition before the High Court which allowed the same. The
appeal filed by the JPSC before the writ court was also allowed
mainly on the ground that the Public Service Commission could
not have fixed qualifying marks of 60% and this amounted to
changing the rules of the game after the advertisement had been
issued and process of selection had started. It held that once the
candidate had obtained 50% marks, the candidate could not be
disqualified and the JPSC was not bound by the instructions of
the UGC in this regard. The High Court also directed that the
case of the writ petitioner would be considered on the basis of
performance. The High Court held that no cut off marks had
been provided for Paper III.
5. We have heard Shri Sunil Kumar, learned senior counsel
appearing for the JPSE who drew our attention to the scheme
framed by the UGC for the SLET. The scheme has a provision for
constitution of a moderation committee which will help in
deciding the cut off marks in each subject for declaring the
result. The relevant portion of the scheme reads as follows:
“Moderation Committee: The committee will help in deciding the cutoff marks in each subject for declaring the result. The Committee will consist of the following:
1. Chairman of Steering/Advisory Committee.
2. State Government Representatives.
3. Two Professors of the different State Universities in rotation.
4. One Professor from outside the State.
5. Member Secretary (State agency)
6. One nominee of the UCAT out of two nominated by UGC.
7. Member Secretary, (UGC Official) UCAT, UGC.”
Mr. Sunil Kumar contends that the moderation committee,
keeping in view the various factors, decides what should be the
cut off marks in each subject and this does not have to be
decided at the stage of issuance of advertisement. On the other
hand, Shri Abhishek Vikas, learned counsel appearing for the
original writ petitioner, submits that the advertisement does not
envisage any minimum cutoff marks for Paper III. He further
submits that this is only an eligibility test and the field of choice
becomes larger if more people are held eligible. Both sides have
challenged the judgment of the High Court and we are deciding
both the appeals by this common judgment.
6. A perusal of Clause 4.1 of the scheme clearly indicates that
the moderation committee has been constituted only for the
purpose of deciding the cutoff marks in each subject for
declaring the result. The advertisement clearly indicates that
only those candidates who obtained 50% marks in Paper I and II
would be eligible to take the test in Paper III. The minimum
qualifying marks in case of General/OBC candidates was 50%.
At this stage, there was no need to fix the qualifying marks for
Paper III. That need will arise only when the moderation
committee meets and decides what should be the level of
competence expected from the people who are to be considered
for appointment as Lecturers. It is for the moderation committee
to decide what should be the cutoff marks. There could be the
subject where all the people who qualified Paper I and II get very
low marks in Paper III and the moderation committee may be
justified in lowering the standards and prescribing lower
qualifying standards. On the other hand, there may be a subject
where there are many candidates who do extremely well in
Paper III and the moderation committee may decide to fix a
higher minimum standard. The constitution of a moderation
committee is normally done only to do this sort of moderation.
7. As far as the finding of the High Court that the rules of the
game were changed after the selection process had started, we
are of the considered view that this is not the case as far as the
present case is concerned. There were no minimum marks
provided for Paper III in the advertisement. This could be done
by the moderation committee even at a later stage. This is not a
change brought about but an additional aspect brought in while
determining the merit of the candidates who are found fit to be
eligible for consideration for appointment of Lecturers.
8. In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that
the High Court erred in holding that the JPSC could not fix the
minimum marks for Paper III. Hence, we set aside the judgment
of the High Court dated 09.11.2016. The Civil Appeal No. 9441
of 2019 @ Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.14926 of 2017 filed by
the Jharkhand Public Service Commission is allowed and C.A.
No. 9442 of 2019 @Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.31106 of
2017 filed by the other side (writ petitioner) is dismissed.
……….………………J. (L. Nageswara Rao)
……………………….J. (Deepak Gupta)
New Delhi, December 18, 2019