SC notice to successful candidates of Delhi judicial exam; naming of ex-judge for revaluation deferred

SC notice to successful candidates of Delhi judicial exam; naming of ex-judge for revaluation deferred

The probe into irregularities in the Delhi Judicial Services (Mains) exam 2014 took an altogether new twist with the Supreme Court making it clear that it would like to hear 15 successful candidates before appointing a retired judge of the apex court to revalue papers.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafullah C  Pant issued notices to the 15 candidates through the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court.

“Principle of natural justice demands that the successful students be heard as we have decided to revalue all papers including theirs”, the bench said. The court went ahead after lawyers appearing for the HC, ASG Maninder Singh and advocate A D N Rao agreed to the proposal.

The court had decided on November 2 decided to appoint a retired sc judge to revalue the papers and was set to announce the name today.

“Yes. How can there be a so much of a difference between marking of two evualtors. There is a concept of rationalization of marks. We don’t know if that system was followed. Anyways we are appointing a retired judge of this court who is very strict to re-evualuate the answer sheets. We want to ensure fairness now that complaints have cropped up”, the bench said.

On August 4, finding prima facie irregularities in the results, the Supreme Court had restrained the Delhi High  Court from declaring final results of the exam till its further orders.

But the court had allowed interviews and the other processes to go on. The court's order came on a petition filed by the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, and the case was argued by noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

It is to be noted that in a letter dated June 18, 2015 to Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini, Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda had written that his ministry had received complaints about children of sitting Delhi High Court judges being declared successful when judges of the same court were involved in the examination process.

The petition was outcome of several Delhi Judicial Service candidates - all of them sitting judges of lower courts - approaching Bhushan and alleging foul play in the conduct of the exams, in which 64 district judges from outside Delhi failed despite quite a few having topped their respective state judicial service exam, while candidates who were allegedly the relatives of sitting Delhi High Court judges cleared the exam. Only 15 candidates cleared the DJS 2014 Mains exam despite there being more than 570 vacancies in the Delhi lower judicial service.

Advocate ADN Rao, the standing counsel for Delhi High Court, told the apex court that there was "nothing unusual in selecting few candidates and it has happened earlier also". Bhushan had knocked the doors of the apex court due to "lack of response" from Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini to whom he had written. "The topper and another successful candidate are daughters of sitting judges of Delhi High Court, which conducted the exam. Records further showed that at least 65 sitting judicial officers from 11 states failed the exam, raising more questions about the evaluation process," Bhushan told the apex court.

"Such results show that there is a serious problem with the evaluation method... this kind of selection process will demotivate several other meritorious students... students with good academic records would never appear in the exams having such an unreasonable selection method," he said.

He had requested the SC to put the declaration of final result on hold till answer sheets are re-evaluated "by adopting fair and reasonable standards, by persons of unquestioned fairness, so that meritorious and suitable candidates could be selected for the notified vacancies."

There are two Writ Petition connected in this matter. One is in nature of PIL(CPIL vs. Registrar, Delhi High Court) whereas other is by an aggrieved party. J. Misra asked Mr. Bhushan (in PIL) at the very onset about his locus to which he conceded that he doesn’t have locus.

However, the writ Petition filed by Fuzail Ayyubi, AOR in case titled Sonal Gupta vs Registrar of Delhi High Court raises the question over lack of transparency and illegality and thus Mr. Sanjay Hegde, Sr. Adv assisted by Anas Tanwir, Adv. appearing for the Petitioner suggested for revaluation which was accepted by the bench.

Read more news about Irregularities in Delhi Judicial Services Examination here.