Dropped for giving correct answers in judicial exam, candidates move HC
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Those who answered the questions asked in the preliminary examination for Haryana Judicial Services (HCS) in March this year correctly —- Dr Rajendra Prasad; robbery and year 2008 respectively —- could not make it to the second round.
Ironically those who gave the incorrect answers —- Dr S Radhakrishnan, criminal conspiracy and year 2009 —- may have cleared the first barrier on way to becoming the civil judges.
Reason: faulty answer key supplied for the examination conducted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In fact, nine such questions, set by the High Court, have wrong answer keys. Those who gave the wrong answers have made it to the merit list of the main examination, slated to take place in May.
Demonstrating the "large scale irregularities" in the preliminary examination, three students Tuesday moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding quashing of the "faulty" merit list prepared on the basis of wrong answer keys.
Also, the petitioners, through their counsel Sourabh Goel, demanded that the main examination shall be stayed till the irregularities are corrected.
Taking serious note, a division bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Ritu Bahri issued notices to the High Court (on the administrative side) and Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC). The duo have been given three days time to respond to the accusations levelled.
Contending on behalf of the petitioners, Sourabh Goel said that the "merit of the candidates cannot be adjudged properly with the answer key, which carry wrong answers". This, Goel said, has resulted in "arbitrariness and unequal treatment" of similarly placed students who gave correct answers.
The petitioners, including Gurmehtab Singh, also submitted that not only the answer keys are incorrect but some of the questions asked were also "ambiguous".
They cited one such ambiguous question which asked: "Assault or use of criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation under Section 353 of the IPC is which kind of offence". Stating that the question has an inherent error, the petitioners submitted that "bare reading of the question shows that there is error in the statement, as the offence of Assault or use of Criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation is contained in Section 352 and not in Section 353, of Indian Penal code (IPC)".
Calling the selection process as "tainted", the petitioners demanded quashing of the merit list. A total of 125 questions, all objective (having four options), were asked in the preliminary examination held on March 17. Each question carried four marks and for every wrong answer one fifth marks were deducted. The standard of the question paper was decided to be of law graduate level. Of these, nine questions, according to the petitioners, have wrong answer keys.
Advertisements were issued by the HPSC for 72 posts of Civil Judge (Junior Division). Out of 72 vacancies, 37 vacancies are for General category.
Not for the first time
A similar situation arose during the selection process of PCS (Judicial branch) in the year 2010 and the High Court had then held "the worthiness of the candidate cannot be correctly judged if answer key provides wrong answers". The High Court and the Punjab Public Service Commission were directed to recheck all the papers and prepare fresh results. After revaluation many candidates who earlier qualified for main examination were left out and many others who were left out made it to the merit list.