12 July 2023 12:29 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside a notice declaring that the candidates appearing in the Delhi Higher Judicial Services Mains (Written) Examination, 2022 will be awarded additional marks in two papers i.e. Law-III and General Knowledge.A division bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Amit Mahajan directed the High Court administration to redraw the select list of candidates...
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside a notice declaring that the candidates appearing in the Delhi Higher Judicial Services Mains (Written) Examination, 2022 will be awarded additional marks in two papers i.e. Law-III and General Knowledge.
A division bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Amit Mahajan directed the High Court administration to redraw the select list of candidates and take consequential steps.
The notice was published by the High Court administration on October 13 last year. While one additional mark was awarded to the candidates for Law-III paper, half mark was awarded for General Knowledge and Language paper.
The court was hearing a plea moved by one Sudeep Raj Saini who challenged the notice in question as well as the selection of one Sandeep Kumar Sharma in the higher judicial services. It was Saini’s case that Sharma did not satisfy the eligibility criteria for selection.
While setting aside the impugned notice and partly allowing the plea, the bench however rejected Saini’s challenge to Sharma’s appointment.
The bench observed that Sharma, who was engaged with the Department of Legal Affairs and drafted pleadings in relation to government matters, performed functions which were no different than the work done by young advocates.
“They are required to draft pleadings, research law, brief senior advocates and also render advice on legal matters. Respondent no.5 (Sharma) was also engaged to do similar works. In view of the above, we are unable to accept that the decision of the concerned Committee of the DHC to accept that respondent no.5 had satisfied the criteria of Rule 9(2) of the DHJS Rules, requires any interference. We find no flaw with the said decision,” the court said.
It however questioned the High Court administration’s decision to grant additional marks to the candidates and observed:
“….the DHC is not precluded from moderating or using the statistical device of scaling for the purpose of fair evaluation of all the candidates. However, it is impermissible for the High Court to add marks merely for including certain disqualified candidates. The evaluation procedure must necessarily be to ensure a uniform and fair evaluation.”
The court observed that the additional marks were not awarded pursuant to an exercise of normalization but to include a few candidates who had failed to qualify as the marks secured by them in the two papers were short by one mark or less.
It added that it is not open for an examining authority to simply award grace marks because some candidates had failed to achieve the qualifying criteria.
“One may sympathize with respondent no.3 or other candidates who have missed achieving the qualifying threshold marks by a whisker; but awarding additional marks for including them in the list of qualified candidates subverts the integrity of the selection process apart from the same being contrary to the DHJS Rules. Any decision of the DHC regarding award of additional marks is required to be pivoted to the evaluation process and its efficacy; not the individual cases,” the court said.
Title: SUDEEP RAJ SAINI v. HIGH COURT OF DELHI & ORS.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 586
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