Karnataka Public Service Commission (“KPSC”) pursuant to Notification dated 3.11.2011 for filling up 362 posts of the Group ‘A’ and Group ‘D’ in the State of Karnataka – There were complaints of mal-practices and irregularities in the conduct of examinations as well as the interviews. It was inter alia alleged that there were demands of bribes from candidates. – If the High Court finds that the written examination is free from any blemish, the High Court may consider restoration of the result of the written examination and further selection process to be conducted. It will also be open to the High Court to direct re-evaluation of scripts of all the candidates or to sustain the cancellation of result of the written examination so that fresh selection can be held. We do not express any opinion on merits of the rival contentions which will be open to be gone into by the High Court. The High Court may take a decision in the matter at the earliest preferably within a period of three months from the date the High Court is moved.

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REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 3543-3555 OF 2018

(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 7166-7178 of 2018)

AVINASH C. & ORS. APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

STATE OF KARNATAKA & ORS. RESPONDENT(S)

O R D E R

1. We have heard learned counsel for the parties

who have entered appearance. Having regard to the

nature of the order proposed, we do not consider it

necessary to issue notice to all the parties who are

not represented.

2. The matter arises out of Selection conducted by

the Karnataka Public Service Commission (“KPSC”)

pursuant to Notification dated 3.11.2011 for filling up

362 posts of the Group ‘A’ and Group ‘D’ in the State

of Karnataka. Examinations were conducted on

22.04.2012. Written tests for mains were conducted

between 15.12.2012 and 16.01.2013. Interviews were

held between 01-04-2013 and 27.05.2013.

3. There were complaints of mal-practices and

irregularities in the conduct of examinations as well

as the interviews. It was inter alia alleged that there

were demands of bribes from candidates. The FIR was

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lodged against Chairman, Member and some officials of

the KPSC. On receipt of the interim report of CID

dated 10th September, 2013, the State Government on 15th

December,2013 directed annulment of evaluation of

written examination as well as the personality test.

The KPSC however, published the select list. The State

Government withdrew the requisition for appointments on

14.08.2014.

4. The above order was challenged by the successful

candidates before the Karnataka Administrative

Tribunal. The Tribunal vide order dated 19th October,

2016 quashed the decision of the State Government and

directed appointment of the selected candidates. Some

selected candidates have been given appointments.

5. The order of the Tribunal was challenged before

the High Court. The High Court by the impugned order

set aside the order of the Tribunal. The High Court

concluded thus:

“55. Resultantly, these writ petitions

eminently deserve to be allowed and

accordingly:

a) Writ Petition Nos. 13617-13627/2017 &

14529/2017 and Writ Petition No. 11342/2017

are allowed;

b) Common order dated 19.10.2016 passed by

the Karnataka State Administrative

Tribunal, Bangalore, in Applications No.

6268/2014 to 6395/2014 c/w 6432/2014 to

6444/2014, 6446/2014 to 6459/2014,

6597/2014 & 6598/2014, 7464/2014, 7941/2014

to 7946/2014, 7950/2014 to 7966/2014,

7967/2014, 7968/2014, 7969/2014, 9112/2014

to 9126/2014, 9592/2014 to 9610/2014 and

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8298/2015, is quashed.

c) Un-Official Note, Un-Official Note No.

139 CASu 139 SaLoSa 2016 dated 17.3.2017,

issued by Deputy Secretary, DPAR Services,

Government of Karnataka, is quashed;

d) Official Memorandum, Official

Memorandum No. 19457 DMA 32 KaMAS 2016-17

dated 27.03.2017, issued by Director,

Municipal Administration, Bengaluru, is

quashed;

e) All orders of appointment/s issued

pursuant to Final Select List dated

21.03.2014 prepared by KPSC are declared

illegal and shall stand quashed; and

f) Government Order, Government Order No.

CaaSuE 53 SaLoSa 2014, Bangalore dated

14.8.2014, withdrawing requisitions issued

to KPSC for selection of Gazetted

Probationers for 2011, and to close

selection process, is sustained.”

6. The High Court observed that appointment of

ineligible, inefficient or persons of questionable

integrity has serious adverse impact on the working of

the Government and is anathema to the rule of law.

Best selection to Government service was the mandate of

the Constitution. No right accrued to candidates merely

by being in the select list. Thus, the Tribunal was in

error in directing appointment of persons validity of

whose selection was seriously doubted by the

Government.

7. We find that the High Court has referred to

material on record in the form of call details between

candidates and members of the KPSC. All the members who

interviewed the candidates awarded exactly the same

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marks to particular candidates. There was no objective

assessment by individual members. There appeared to be

extraneous reasons in awarding the marks. 566

candidates were awarded same marks which appeared to be

pre-determined. Digital video recorder in the KPSC

building was replaced to destroy evidence. In this

view of the matter, we do not find any ground to

interfere with the view of the High Court that the

selection could not have been sustained. If the

selection is found to be tainted in any manner, it is

always open to the concerned authority to annul such

selection to maintain purity of the selection process.

It may not always be necessary to segregate tainted and

untainted candidates when the process itself is

tainted. Moreover, at pre-appointment stage, decision

to cancel the selection process can be interfered only

if it is patently arbitrary, malafide or illegal. In

the present case, the High Court has rightly applied

these parameters and found no case for interference

with the decision to annul the selection.

8. Learned counsel for some of the parties

submitted that the written examination is not vitiated

by any irregularity and the same can be sustained.

Interviews can be held again.

9. Since this contention does not appear to have

been raised before the High Court we permit this

contention to be now raised by either of the parties by

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moving the High Court within two weeks from today. If

such an application is moved, the High Court may

examine the same on merits. If the High Court finds

that the written examination is free from any blemish,

the High Court may consider restoration of the result

of the written examination and further selection

process to be conducted. It will also be open to the

High Court to direct re-evaluation of scripts of all

the candidates or to sustain the cancellation of result

of the written examination so that fresh selection can

be held. We do not express any opinion on merits of

the rival contentions which will be open to be gone

into by the High Court. The High Court may take a

decision in the matter at the earliest preferably

within a period of three months from the date the High

Court is moved.

The appeals are disposed of in the aforesaid

terms.

…………………….J.

(ADARSH KUMAR GOEL)

…….……………….J.

(ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN)

NEW DELHI,

APRIL 4, 2018