PSI job scam: Karnataka HC junks petitions challenging fresh exam

The petitions were filed by the candidates, whose names were found in the provisional selection list announced on January 19, 2022.
Last Updated : 10 November 2023, 23:44 IST

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The high court on Friday dismissed a batch of petitions challenging the state government’s decision to conduct fresh examination for PSI recruitment.

A division bench, comprising Justice P S Dinesh Kumar and Justice T G Shivashankare Gowda, has said that the state government shall entrust the process of re-examination to an independent agency without charging any fresh fee to the candidates to ensure fair re-examination.

The petitions were filed by the candidates, whose names were found in the provisional selection list announced on January 19, 2022. They had approached the high court after the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal (KSAT) dismissed their petitions in July and December, 2022.

On April 29, 2022, the state government had cancelled the results of written examination of both descriptive and objective papers following serious allegations of irregularities and malpractice and decided to hold a fresh examination. The allegations were that OMR sheets were tampered with and bribes exchanged hands to favour some of the candidates. In all, 110 persons were arrested, out of whom 53 were selected candidates.

The petitioners had contended that only a handful were found indulging in irregularities and hence they could be segregated and the selection process had to be continued in terms of the provisional selection list.

However, the division bench noted that in the instant case, the segregation of tainted and untainted candidates was not possible for various reasons. The bench said that it was impossible to convey the answers to the beneficiaries through Bluetooth device without the candidates or the external party not having access to the question paper and the ‘version’ of the question paper prior to the examination.

The bench further said that the involvement of the ADGP, who is the Head of Recruitment Wing, through whom OMR answer sheets were accessed and tampered erodes public trust and confidence.

“In our opinion, the probability of leakage of questions is almost certain because without knowing the questions earlier, the external party could not have conveyed answers within 90 minutes, particularly when transmission was only one way; the purity in conducting the examination is a sine qua non to build a robust, efficient and honest public service and particularly, the disciplined uniformed force like the Police,” the bench said.

The court also said that in 2016, the Karnataka State Pre-University Board had conducted the examination in Chemistry paper thrice due to paper leakage for the Second PUC students.

“Unless a categorical finding is recorded to the effect that there was no malpractice by ‘use of Bluetooth’, the wisdom of the executive in cancelling the examinations cannot be found fault with. Further, if any finding is recorded with regard to ‘use of Bluetooth’ by this court in these proceedings that would amount to pre-judging the issue involved in various criminal trials which exercise cannot be and should not be undertaken in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India,” the court said.

Published 10 November 2023, 23:44 IST

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