18 Sep 2023 6:00 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has dismissed the plea of a Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) aspirant to appear in the forthcoming Civil Services (Main) Examination after her candidature was cancelled for uploading incorrect photograph and signature in the application form. The petitioner, who had cleared the Preliminary Examination, claimed she had inadvertently uploaded her brother's photo...
The Delhi High Court has dismissed the plea of a Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) aspirant to appear in the forthcoming Civil Services (Main) Examination after her candidature was cancelled for uploading incorrect photograph and signature in the application form.
The petitioner, who had cleared the Preliminary Examination, claimed she had inadvertently uploaded her brother's photo and signature in her application form. She challenged the cancellation of her candidature before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). The interim relief sought by her that she be permitted to appear in the Main Examination was rejected by the Tribunal.
Upholding the order of the Tribunal, the bench of Justices V. Kameswar Rao and Anoop Kumar Mendiratta observed that the candidates have a window of seven days from the closure of the application window, to correct any error which had crept in the application form, however, the petitioner had not availed the said opportunity. The court further observed that the petitioner had approached the Tribunal after almost a period of 15 days from the date the rejection of her candidature was made.
The court was informed that the petitioner had been selected to the Indian Revenue Service, and thus had unlimited chances to appear in the Civil Services Examination. Further, even if she did not appear in the forthcoming Mains Examination, she was not precluded from appearing in the Civil Services Examination next year, the court was told.
It was the case of UPSC that candidates were required to preview the application form before they uploaded it, and it was only after confirmation that they were required to upload the same. The petitioner also had the opportunity to correct the filled application form in the next seven days, which she had failed to do, UPSC told the court. Thus, in view of the same, UPSC claimed that no equitable relief needed to be granted in favour of the petitioner.
UPSC claimed that from around six lakh candidates that had appeared in the preliminary examination, around ten applications had been rejected on the ground of mismatch of photographs and signatures. Therefore, it submitted that any order in favour of the petitioner would be in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India as the petitioner cannot be given a benefit which was denied to other candidates.
The Commission added that the Examination Centre allowing the petitioner to sit in the preliminary examination on the undertaking given by her, was totally unauthorized as instructions were issued to the centres not to allow any candidate to sit for the examination when there is a mismatch in the photograph and signature and the physical appearance of the candidate.
The High court observed that the Tribunal had considered the nature of the instructions issued by the UPSC, which are statutory in nature, based on the Civil Services Examination Rules, 2023, which have to be mandatorily followed and uniformly implemented.
“We also note the finding of the Tribunal that Note 6(1)(e) of the Examination Rules stipulates uploading irrelevant photo/signature in place of the actual photo/signature would result in disqualification by the UPSC for the examination held under the said Rules,” said the court.
“Further, we have been informed that the Main Examination is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 09:00 AM. The submission of Mr. Kaushik that any directions given, permitting the petitioner to appear in the examination shall entail issuance of admit card, determining an examination centre, preparing her question paper and answer sheet, which cannot be organized in such a short time, is appealing. We reiterate that the petitioner had taken almost 15 days to approach the Tribunal and even the phone call made by the petitioner initially on the receipt of the email from the UPSC was after a period of 18 days which surely suggest, the petitioner should have been more proactive in seeking her remedy,” said the court.
The Court accordingly dismissed the writ petition, upholding the order of the Tribunal.
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr. Shivanshu Bhardwaj, Adv
Counsel for the Respondent: Mr. Naresh Kaushik, Mr. Manoj Joshi, Mr. Anand Singh and Ms. Shikha John, Advs. for UPSC
Case Title: DIKSHIKA MEENA vs UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION & ORS
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 841
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment