Karnataka

It was a fraud in the selection process: HC

Directs govt. to pay relief of ₹10 lakh to candidate who didn’t get job in 2010

The High Court of Karnataka has set aside the appointment of an advocate made to the post of Assistant Public Prosecutor-cum-Assistant Government Pleader (APP-cum-AGP) in 2010 while holding that there was ‘systematic fraud’ in the selection process. The HC also directed the Home Department to pay compensation of ₹10 lakh to a candidate, who was deprived of an appointment despite securing more marks than the one who was appointed.

A Division Bench comprising Justice G. Narendar and Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order in Kalaburgagi Bench while dismissing a petition filed by Ashok Kumar, who had challenged the order passed by the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal in October 2019.

“But for the inflated marks, Mr. Kumar could not have been appointed to the of APP-cum-AGP and inflated marks is a result of systematic fraud,” the Bench held, while pointing out that one Revanna P.C. was denied the benefit of appointment owing to fraud committed by the selection authority.

The Bench said that the Home Department, after paying compensation to Mr. Revanna, should identify the officers responsible for commission of fraud, hold an inquiry, fix responsibility and recover the compensation from them by following due process of law while partly modifying the Tribunal’s directing the government to pay compensation of ₹10 lakh.

It also directed the government to consider appointing Mr. Revanna to the post while rejecting Mr. Kumar’s plea to allow him continue in the post as he had already worked for 10 years. “In an appointment, secured by fraud, this court should require them to disgorge the benefit of these ill-gotten gains but, here, a streak of sympathy has to be shown as Mr. Kumar has worked and earned his salary for the last ten years, and now directing recovery of the salary would be improper,” the Bench observed.

Destroyed answer scripts

The Selection Authority had told the tribunal that it had, in normal course in June 2013 destroyed the answer scripts of the selection process held in 2009-10 to select candidates to the posts of APP-cum-AGP under the quota reserved for the Scheduled Caste, to which both candidates belong, even though Mr. Revanna’s petition was pending since 2010.

Background

The selection authority, after holding a written test and interview during 2009-10, had notified the list of total marks obtained by all candidates.

On the list, Mr. Revanna had secured 86.2 marks and Mr. Kumar had secured 84.4 marks. However, when the provisional selection list was notified in April 2010, Mr. Revanna did not find his name. Mr. Kumar’s name was found on the list, and surprisingly with the higher mark of 87.4 instead of the earlier mark of 84.4. Mr. Revanna moved the tribunal in 2010 as the selection authority did not consider his objection for inflated marks shown to Mr. Kumar in the provisional list.

As the answer scripts were not available for examination due to destruction during the pendency of litigation, both the tribunal and the HC declined to accept the argument of the State government that there was typographical error in marks’ list in relation to marks awarded to Mr. Kumar and hence it was rectified in the provisional list.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 10:23:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/it-was-a-fraud-in-the-selection-process-hc/article30832580.ece

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