Mechanical rejection of applications by PSC undesirable - Courts can interfere if injustice is meted out to candidate : Kerala HC [Read Jt]

Mechanical rejection of applications by PSC undesirable - Courts can interfere if injustice is meted out to candidate : Kerala HC [Read Jt]

In a recent judgment in a Writ appeal, Kerala Public Service Commission vs Roshini K.S, Kerala High Court has held that mechanical rejection of applications by Public service commission is undesirable and the courts can interfere if justice is meted out to candidate. The court held that “whether an infraction of a condition in the advertisement shall entail rejection of candidature depends upon facts of each case and it cannot be said that there has to be mechanical rejection of all applications.” It further held “when the matter is taken to the High Court under Article 226, Court is entitled to look into the facts of each case and can consider whether injustice hasbeen meted out in a particular case.”

A job aspirant applied for a job- post advertised by KPSC through their web portal in 2010. The photo which she uploaded in the online application, was dated 15.12.2010 whereas the stipulation in the KPSC notification was that the photo uploaded should be after 31.12.2010. However, she was allowed to write the exam and she got 78 out of 100. But in the final rank list her name was not included. The petitioner filed Writ petition before the Kerala High Court challenging the non-inclusion of her name in the rank list, and the single judge allowed the Writ petition.

The Division bench of Kerala High Court, headed by Chief Justice of High Court, upheld the judgment of the single judge. The court observed that “a candidate who has to submit an online application shall submit application on the basis of the notification uploaded on website of the Commission as well as the instructions contained therein.” In this case the petitioner had pleaded that no instructions about the date of photograph was there in the notification in the website and PSC had said it is available in Kerala Gazette. The court noted that the  only defect in the application of the petitioner  is that the uploaded photograph ought to have been taken after 31.12.2010 whereas the photograph uploaded by the petitioner was taken on 15.12.2010.

The Court distinguished the facts of this case with its earlier decision in Sasikala v. Kerala Public Service Commission (2012) 2 KLT 585 and SreejeshVijayan v. State of Kerala (2014 [1] KLT 1003), wherein, the petitioner did not write her name or enter the date on the photograph. In those cases the High Court had held that such defects cannot be brushed aside as immaterial and refused to interfere with the rejection of candidature.

The High Court, in this case, further held “even if it is assumed that the Commission was justified in rejecting the candidature of the petitioner, the above was a fit case where High Court in exercise of writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution could have interfered in the matter.” Following the dictum laid in C. Basappa v. T.Nagappa and another (AIR 1954 SC 440) , State of Punjab v. ShamlalMurari, UPSC v. Gyan Prakash Srivastava ([2012] 1 SCC 537, the court held that thatscope of Article 226 is very wide and can be used toremedy injustice wherever it is found. It is thus clear that whether an infraction of a condition in the advertisement shall entail rejection of candidature depends upon facts of each case and it cannot be saidthere has to be mechanical rejection of all applications.  Upholding the Judgment of Single Judge, the Division bench held “Learned Single Judge has exercised the discretion in favour of the petitioner by which justice has been meted out. Interfering with the order of the learned Single Judge will be erasing the justice which has been given to the petitioner”

Read the Judgment here.