With only nine candidates making it to the interview level out of the 14,000 aspirants who gave the preliminary examination for post of Civil Judge in Haryana, the Supreme Court on Friday appointed its former judge Justice A K Sikri to assess the evaluation of the main written exam.
The top court directed the Punjab and Haryana High Court to place the answer scripts of all the candidates who appeared in the main written examination before Justice (retd) Sikri.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta did not fix any time-frame but requested Justice Sikri to communicate his views and findings at the earliest.
The bench said, "We request a former Judge of this Court, Justice A K Sikri to look into some of the answer scripts of the main written examination at his discretion to make an assessment whether the evaluation undertaken should be accepted by the Court.
"The High Court will place before Justice A K Sikri, the answer scripts of all the candidates, who have appeared in the main written examination, out of which at his discretion, His lordship (Justice Sikri) may select some of the answer scripts for further evaluation."
It will take up the matter after summer vacation of the top court.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Registrar General of the high court said that for 107 advertised vacancies of civil judge (junior division) in Haryana, more than 34,000 candidates had applied.
He said that more than 14,000 aspirants out of 34,000 appeared for the preliminary examination out of which 1,282 candidates qualified for the main examination.
"Only 1,195 candidates appeared out of 1,282 aspirants for the main examination in which only nine of them qualified. The results were declared on April 11, 2019," Mr Singh said and submitted a note to the bench.
The top court's order came on a plea filed by 92 aspirants to the post of Civil Judge (Junior Division) in Haryana, seeking quashing of the result of its Main (Written) Examination.
The top court had on April 29 restrained the Punjab and Haryana High Court Registry from appointing any civil judge in Haryana without its nod.
The petition challenged the selection process and evaluation method adopted in the examination on the grounds of being "unreasonable, arbitrary and mala fide".
It alleged that if the examination's selection process was not stayed, it would cause irreparable damage to the petitioners and other un-successful candidates.
The petitioners have alleged that various RTI applications were filed immediately after the result of the main examination seeking disclosure of marks, copies of answer scripts, model answers and marking criteria, but to no avail and the interview tests were scheduled on the basis of the already declared results.
The petitioners have also alleged that there was a "serious problem" with the evaluation method being conducted for selecting judicial officers in Haryana.
The plea further said that it was "surprising" and "invited disbelief" that at least 20-30 candidates, who had appeared for the main exam but were not selected for the interview are those who have already cleared judicial examinations of other states or are sitting judges in their respective states.
"Some of the candidates who have not been found fit for the interview are the toppers and gold medalists in their respective reputed law colleges, the plea has said.
Through the information obtained under RTI Act, it is clear that in the last examination cycle leading to appointment of successful candidates to state judicial services, there was "no marking criteria" for the evaluation of answer scripts in the related mains examination and the performance of the candidate in the written examination depended solely on discretion of the examiner, the plea has alleged.
It also alleged that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had further responded that information was not available with the concerned branch about existence of model answers or their copies and principles governing grace marks.
The petition said the high court has already scrapped the entire preliminary examination held earlier on July 16, 2017 on account of paper leak and had issued direction for an enquiry in to the entire issue.
It said that unless the selection process is re-examined to make it more rational and reasonable, one of the most important factors responsible for "huge pendency" and "delay in justice", which is lack of sufficient number of judicial officers, will not be tackled.
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