The High Court of Karnataka on Friday held that the evaluation of answer scripts of the main exam, conducted in 2012-13, to select candidates to the Group A and B posts of gazetted probationers by the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) from the 2011 batch was vitiated by “interference from interested persons”. The court declined to restore the results of the exam.
A Division Bench comprising Justice H.G. Ramesh and Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar delivered the verdict while rejecting the interlocutory applications filed by some candidates seeking restoration of results of the main exam and permission for the process of a fresh interview of candidates based on those results.
The High Court had, on March 9, set aside the direction issued by the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) in October 2017 to the State government to issue appointment orders to 362 candidates selected in the 2011 batch. The court had also restored the government’s August 2014 decision to close the selection process owing to large-scale malpractices unearthed in a preliminary inquiry report of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Later, the Supreme Court, while upholding the High Court’s March 9 order, requested the court to examine whether the processes prior to the stage of interview of candidates were free of irregularities.
In its verdict on Friday, the Division Bench observed: “We were appalled as we went through the outrageous and scandalous revelations in the preliminary report… The irregularities in evaluation of answer scripts are shockingly disgraceful and shake the confidence in the public service commission, a Constitutional body meant to act in aid of efficient and smooth functioning of the administration by recommending recruitment of the most able candidates to run the government.”
“Countrymen place faith and confidence in Constitutional functionaries. Revelation of the kind found in the preliminary investigation report erodes public confidence and there should be no compromise with regard to righteous discharge of their noble functions by following the doctrine of zero tolerance against infraction and dereliction…,” the Bench observed.
From the CID report, the court pointed out irregularities such as over-writing of marks found in tabulation and retotalling by using different ink, which was corroborated in an FSL report. The retotalling work was done by 30 employees of the KPSC and the marks of 320 of the 929 candidates were found to have increased. Furthermore, three candidates who benefited from it were found to have been in telephonic touch with KPSC members, while the son of an assistant secretary of KPSC, who had scored only 236 marks in the preliminary test, had obtained 995 marks in the main examination and 115 marks in the personality test. His mother was found to have been in touch with KPSC members and their private secretaries.
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