Rashid Paul

HC to wait for SC orders to decide maintainability of PIL

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‘Irregularities’ in KAS (Mains) exam…

Srinagar, Jan 31: On the maintainability of the public interest litigation alleging irregularities in the conduct of examination for Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS-Mains) by State Public Service Commission (PSC) in 2018, the J&K High Court today decided to await orders from the Supreme Court of India.

“In views of the principle of law laid down by the Supreme Court on the maintainability of the PIL in service matters, the instant writ petition is completely misconceived and misdirected,” observed a division bench of the High Court.

“However the case at hand is a service matter, therefore, needs a decision first to be taken on preliminary objection, but the only impediment is pendency of the SLP as we are not clear as to whether the Supreme Court has left this court free to proceed ahead with the case notwithstanding Special Leave Petition pending before that court and deal with the preliminary objection,” it said.

A division bench comprising Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Sanjeev Kumar, held the view that Supreme Court order cannot be read in essence it has directed the J&K High Court to decide the PIL on its merits whether or not it is maintainable.

“Therefore, we thought it proper to await further orders with reference to clarification from the Supreme Court which may be sought by the parties in appearance,” said the bench.

The court decided that the matter shall be listed immediately after further orders from the Supreme Court.

A PIL commenced pursuant to a High Court order of 21st January on a representation filed on 17th of December 2018 by 83 applicants alleging irregularities on account of alleged data corruption.

The aggrieved candidates also alleged huge human error in the digital marking adopted for evaluation of answer scripts in the KAS examination held by the PSC in July-August last year.

The court had directed that till next date of hearing, there shall be stay of further selection process, and the case was posted for today.

The PSC subsequently filed a petition for Special Leave to appeal before the Supreme Court against the High Court order.

The Supreme Court on 21st of this January directed that selection process can be completed but no appointment will be made. The Supreme Court, however, left it to the High Court to decide the PIL on merits.

The PSC filed a detailed reply before the High Court in which it furnished detailed information seeking to meet the points raised by the aggrieved candidates.

However, it also objected to the maintainability of the PIL, citing certain judgments of the apex court and various high courts to the effect that public interest litigation cannot be entertained in service matters.

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