The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday dismissed a bunch of petitions challenging last year's Punjab Civil Services (executive branch) and other allied services preliminary examination for filling 160 posts, on account of large-scale discrepancies in question paper and answer key.
Justice Augustine George Masih, while dismissing the petitions, directed the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) to correct the answer key with regard to question no. 36 of Paper-II and reevaluate optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets of all the candidates. The bench also directed the commission to prepare the revised result and declare it on its website in three weeks.
The petitioners, Surinder Pal of Hoshiarpur and others, had challenged the examination conducted on November 25, 2012. Some of the petitioners have sought that the matter be referred to the independent experts' committee, while others have sought directions to re-conduct the examination.
The petitioners had challenged the merit list primarily on the ground that the PPSC, after finding large-scale discrepancies in the answer keys to various questions, en block granted grace marks to all candidates irrespective of whether the candidate had attempted the said questions or not. They reasoned that this would unjustly benefit those candidates who had not attempted the said questions correctly.
Another ground taken by the petitioners is that the respondents have not taken action on the representations submitted by the candidates for correction of various discrepancies, which spanned from questions being wrong to wrong answer keys and absence of correct options in multiple-choice questions. They claimed no efforts had been made to correct the mistakes.
Though the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) had accepted six questions/answer keys as wrong, deleted them before the announcement of the result and granted six marks to all the candidates across the board, the petitioners had submitted that around 30 questions/answer keys were wrong and pleaded that the matter be referred to an independent experts' committee, as decided by the high court in the case of the Haryana Civil Services (executive branch) and other allied services examination, 2011.
The PPSC had received 1,045 representations from various candidates after the answer keys were uploaded on the website.