From Non-SCS to IAS: CAT upholds Haryana govt’s decision to shortlist candidates on basis of written test
The tribunal says it is clear that the written examination is proposed to be conducted for determining the outstanding merit and ability of the candidates.Updated: Aug 07, 2020 21:10 IST
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Friday upheld the Haryana government’s June 9 order on Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) conducting a written test to shortlist Non-State Civil Service (Non-SCS) officers to fill five Indian Administrative Service (IAS) posts.
The order comes two days before the HPSC will conduct the test on Sunday to prepare a panel of 25 candidates under what the state government states is a “rational and transparent system for evaluating the persons of outstanding merit and ability.”
At least 332 Non-SCS officers from different state departments will appear in the written test for the first time in the state to shortlist candidates. The three-hour written examination will have 100 multiple-choice questions with five options. The examination will have negative marking and for every wrong answer, 25% marks assigned to the question will be deducted.
“We do not find any merit in this petition and accordingly the same is dismissed,” justice L Narasimha Reddy, chairman of the division bench stated in the 15-page order.
Surender Singh Dahiya, 52, who is additional director, agriculture department, had moved the CAT. His key contention was that June 9 notification of the Haryana government “indirectly” gave the HPSC the power to conduct a parallel examination even as the state did not have this power. The petitioner had argued that the impugned order was a clear encroachment into the powers of the central government.
“By no stretch of imagination, the HPSC is entering the realm of central government or UPSC,” the Tribunal says.
As per the order, the June 9 notification of Haryana government was only to conduct a written examination and that the HPSC will forward the list of 25 meritorious candidates for five vacancies to the chief secretary “purely on the basis of marks obtained” and he would then forward this list to the UPSC.
“The HPSC is not assigned any other role whatsoever,” reads the order, pointing out that the plea of the applicant that the (June 9) order exceeds the legislative competence of the state “is difficult to accept”.
The order states that the applicant could have a genuine apprehension in case he was required to compete in the written examination with fresh candidates. “However, here it is only officers who have put in eight years of service... that are eligible to apply and appear in the written examination,” justice Reddy stated.
Referring to the “restricted nature of participation in the examination,” the CAT said it cannot be said that an individual candidate is being put to disadvantage of any nature.
Justice Reddy has stated that just as there is no legislative background for determination of the ‘outstanding merit and ability’ of the candidate with reference to the ACRs, there need not be any such legislative basis for conducting a written examination. “It may be first of its kind. At the same time, it is a continuous process which needs improvement depending on the past exercise,” the ruling says.
“From the above, it is clear that the written examination is proposed to be conducted for determining the outstanding merit and ability of the candidates.”