No rules of the game were changed after the selection process had started = As far as the finding of the High Court that the rules of the game were changed after the selection process had started, we are of the considered view that this is not the case as far as the present case is concerned. There were no minimum marks provided for Paper III in the advertisement. This could be done by the moderation committee even at a later stage. This is not a change brought about but an additional aspect brought in while determining the merit of the candidates who are found fit to be eligible for consideration for appointment of Lecturers.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9441 OF 2019
(@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO.14926 OF 2017)
JHARKHAND PUBLIC SERVICE
COMMISSION …PETITIONER(S)
Versus
MANOJ KUMAR GUPTA AND ANR. …RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9442 OF 2019
(@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 31106 OF 2017)
J U D G M E N T
Deepak Gupta, J.
The Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC) issued an
advertisement on 19.07.2006 inviting applications from
candidates desirous of competing in the Jharkhand Eligibility
Test (JET). This test is not meant for selection to any post but is
conducted to determine the eligibility of the candidates for
appointment as lecturers in universities and colleges of the State
1
of Jharkhand. This test called the State Level Eligibility Test
(SLET) is conducted as per the guidelines laid down by the
University Grants Commission (UGC).

  1. The test consists of three papers – the first two papers are
    multiple choice questions to be answered on an Optical Mark
    Reader (OMR). One test is of a general subject and one test is of
    the subject for which the candidate applies. The third paper is a
    descriptive type question paper dealing only with the subject
    selected by the candidate. Relevant portion of the advertisement
    reads as follows:
    “A candidate who does not appear in Paper­I will
    not be permitted to appear in Paper­II and
    Paper­III. Paper­III will be evaluated only for
    those candidates who are able to secure the
    minimum qualifying marks in Paper­I and
    Paper­II as per the table given in the following:­
    CATEGORY MINIMUM QUALIFYING MARKS
    PAPER­I PAPER­II PAPER­I
    +
    PAPER­II
    GENERAL/OBC 40 40 100 (50%)
    PH/VH 35 35 90 (45%)
    SC/ST 35 35 80 (40%)
    2
  2. The writ petitioner obtained 50% marks in Papers I and II
    but he did not do as well in Paper III. The JPSC fixed a cut off
    percentage of 60 for Paper III which the writ petitioner did not
    attain and as such he was declared not successful and, therefore,
    ineligible to be considered for appointment as lecturer.
  3. Aggrieved by the said action, the writ petitioner filed a writ
    petition before the High Court which allowed the same. The
    appeal filed by the JPSC before the writ court was also allowed
    mainly on the ground that the Public Service Commission could
    not have fixed qualifying marks of 60% and this amounted to
    changing the rules of the game after the advertisement had been
    issued and process of selection had started. It held that once the
    candidate had obtained 50% marks, the candidate could not be
    disqualified and the JPSC was not bound by the instructions of
    the UGC in this regard. The High Court also directed that the
    case of the writ petitioner would be considered on the basis of
    performance. The High Court held that no cut off marks had
    been provided for Paper III.
    3
  4. We have heard Shri Sunil Kumar, learned senior counsel
    appearing for the JPSE who drew our attention to the scheme
    framed by the UGC for the SLET. The scheme has a provision for
    constitution of a moderation committee which will help in
    deciding the cut off marks in each subject for declaring the
    result. The relevant portion of the scheme reads as follows:
    “Moderation Committee: The committee will help in
    deciding the cut­off marks in each subject for
    declaring the result. The Committee will consist of
    the following:
  5. Chairman of Steering/Advisory Committee.
  6. State Government Representatives.
  7. Two Professors of the different State Universities
    in rotation.
  8. One Professor from outside the State.
  9. Member Secretary (State agency)
  10. One nominee of the U­CAT out of two nominated
    by UGC.
  11. Member Secretary, (UGC Official) U­CAT, UGC.”
    Mr. Sunil Kumar contends that the moderation committee,
    keeping in view the various factors, decides what should be the
    cut off marks in each subject and this does not have to be
    decided at the stage of issuance of advertisement. On the other
    hand, Shri Abhishek Vikas, learned counsel appearing for the
    original writ petitioner, submits that the advertisement does not
    4
    envisage any minimum cut­off marks for Paper III. He further
    submits that this is only an eligibility test and the field of choice
    becomes larger if more people are held eligible. Both sides have
    challenged the judgment of the High Court and we are deciding
    both the appeals by this common judgment.
  12. A perusal of Clause 4.1 of the scheme clearly indicates that
    the moderation committee has been constituted only for the
    purpose of deciding the cut­off marks in each subject for
    declaring the result. The advertisement clearly indicates that
    only those candidates who obtained 50% marks in Paper I and II
    would be eligible to take the test in Paper III. The minimum
    qualifying marks in case of General/OBC candidates was 50%.
    At this stage, there was no need to fix the qualifying marks for
    Paper III. That need will arise only when the moderation
    committee meets and decides what should be the level of
    competence expected from the people who are to be considered
    for appointment as Lecturers. It is for the moderation committee
    to decide what should be the cut­off marks. There could be the
    subject where all the people who qualified Paper I and II get very
    low marks in Paper III and the moderation committee may be
    5
    justified in lowering the standards and prescribing lower
    qualifying standards. On the other hand, there may be a subject
    where there are many candidates who do extremely well in
    Paper III and the moderation committee may decide to fix a
    higher minimum standard. The constitution of a moderation
    committee is normally done only to do this sort of moderation.
  13. As far as the finding of the High Court that the rules of the
    game were changed after the selection process had started, we
    are of the considered view that this is not the case as far as the
    present case is concerned. There were no minimum marks
    provided for Paper III in the advertisement. This could be done
    by the moderation committee even at a later stage. This is not a
    change brought about but an additional aspect brought in while
    determining the merit of the candidates who are found fit to be
    eligible for consideration for appointment of Lecturers.
  14. In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that
    the High Court erred in holding that the JPSC could not fix the
    minimum marks for Paper III. Hence, we set aside the judgment
    of the High Court dated 09.11.2016. The Civil Appeal No. 9441
    6
    of 2019 @ Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.14926 of 2017 filed by
    the Jharkhand Public Service Commission is allowed and C.A.
    No. 9442 of 2019 @Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.31106 of
    2017 filed by the other side (writ petitioner) is dismissed.
    ……….………………J.
    (L. Nageswara Rao)
    ……………………….J.
    (Deepak Gupta)
    New Delhi,
    December 18, 2019
    7