Shocked to find out that during the selection process of 1,983 physical training instructors (PTIs) between 2006 and 2010, all decisions were solely taken by the chairman of the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (SSC) without involving other members of the commission, the Punjab and Haryana high court has set aside the entire selection.
Allowing the prayer made in a bunch of 68 petitions, the bench headed by justice Augustine George Masih on Tuesday directed the commission to hold a fresh selection within five months.
"Members of the commission, except for being members of the selection committee for holding interviews, have not participated in any decision or its making process, which reveals a very gloomy, rather a negative picture, of the commission and its functioning," justice Masih observed.
Taking strong objection to the commission's decision of changing the selection criteria several times, the bench said, "Once the said criteria has been laid down and the selection process had been initiated, the selection criteria cannot be changed in the midst of the selection process or after the process has come to an end."
The commission had advertised 1,983 posts of PTIs on July 20, 2006; the written examination was held on January 21, 2007. A public notice was issued on February 1, 2007, stating that the commission had received a number of complaints about malpractices in the written examination, and the written exam was cancelled. The exam was rescheduled for July 20, 2008, but was again cancelled, for administrative reasons.
Another public notice was issued on July 12, 2008, in which the commission decided to shortlist eight times the candidates of the advertised posts in their respective category for interview on the basis of essential academic qualifications already advertised.
But later, the commission decided to call all eligible candidates, who fulfilled the minimum essential qualifications, for interview in September and October 2008. The result was declared on April 10, 2010.
The petitioners had also asserted that with a mala fide intention to help some of the favourties who had been awarded very high marks in the interview so that they could be selected, the viva-voce marks had been increased later from 25 to 30 out of a total of 100.
The bench observed that nowhere in the records was it reflected that any proper criteria had been laid down by the commission for making the selection of candidates. "The very concept and spirit of the commission stands butchered and banished due to there being no consultation, association and participation by any of the members of the commission in the present selection process for filling the posts of PTIs," the bench said.
The court held, "The selection in question does not pass the test of being in accordance with law… rendering the selection illegal."