Constitutes a panel of both beneficiaries and aggrieved to examine marks’ records

In a one-of-its-kind method to discover the truth, the Karnataka High Court on Friday told the advocates of both selected and unsuccessful candidates to scrutinise the records of the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) that deals with marks awarded to the candidates for Group “A” and “B” gazetted probationers in the 1998, 1999 and 2004 batches of the recruitment process.

The court directed the KPSC to furnish copies of all relevant records pertaining to marks of candidates in the final exam and interviews to the advocates, who are part of the fact-finding committee.

The committee comprises advocates Vikram Phadke and Basavaraj Patil, who represent the unsuccessful candidates; and K.M. Prakash, representing selected candidates. While advocate Reuben Jacob will represent the KPSC, advocate R. Devdas will represent the State. A representative each from unsuccessful and selected candidates can assist their respective advocate. The advocates can also take assistance from others for analysing the records.

The court also directed the KPSC to provide adequate space and facilities for this on its premises and directed the members of the panel to submit their report, either jointly or separately, to the court within a month. The members of the committee need not necessarily work sitting together at one place, but they should work in a congenial atmosphere and should not air their opinions in public.

The KPSC has been directed to maintain the records of attendance of members of the committee.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order while hearing public interest litigation petitions filed by unsuccessful candidates led by Khaleel Ahmed K.R and others. The petitioners had sought a direction to the State to implement the report of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which had pointed out various irregularities in KPSC’s recruitment process in these batches.

The government, in 2010-11, entrusted the probe to the CID on High Court’s direction.

The court passed the order after the KPSC, though terming some of the findings “incorrect”, agreed with the CID’s finding with respect to the 1998 batch. The CID had said a “wrong step adopted in following a 2002 directive of the High Court in moderation of answers papers had resulted in tilting of marks and ultimately the results”.

Earlier, the court orally observed that “it is not optimistic about the outcome of the criminal prosecution launched by the State government in the matter and would rather go in for a public inquiry involving all the parties [in the litigation]”.

In its statement, the KPSC said in pursuant to this finding of the CID, “The KPSC is re-doing the exercise of moderation and scaling in order to find out, if in fact there would be tilting of total marks secured by a candidate and consequently the selection list … done earlier as per the 2002 order of the HC.

The KPSC further stated that while re-doing this exercise, “it was found that a total of nine answer scripts in four subjects are required to be subjected to third evaluation in terms of HC’s 2002 order. This will be followed by the preparation of a merit list and if any fresh candidate comes within 1:5 eligibility range, then personality tests will be arranged for the said candidates. Based on the outcome of these processes, merit list needs to be re-drawn as also the final select list.”

‘Not intentional’

But, P.S. Rajagopal, senior counsel representing KPSC, made it clear to the court the wrong step was not intentional but due to frequent transfer of persons appointed to the post of secretary of the KPSC.

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