Supreme Court: no breach of right if exam cancelled due to malpractice

Supreme Court: no breach of right if exam cancelled due to malpractice

Candidates cannot claim violation of fundamental right to equality if authorities cancel an examination due to irregularities or unfair means adopted by them, the Supreme Court said.

The apex court also added that the state’s authority to take appropriate action to maintain the purity of any examination process is unquestionable. The government need not seek proof of every fact that tainted the examination process.

In public interest
A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre said denying power to the state to take remedial action, including cancelling the recruitment process, would neither be consistent with the demands of larger public interest nor would be conducive to efficient administration.

“Purity of the examination process, whether such examination process pertains to assessment of the academic accomplishment or suitability of candidates for employment under the state, is an unquestionable requirement of the rationality of any examination process. Rationality is an indispensable aspect of public administration under our Constitution,” it said.

The court rejected the rationale that the whole process has to be cancelled because some people resorted to malpractice since that would affect several innocent candidates.

In its judgement, the court dismissed the plea by Gohil Vishvaraj Hanubhai and others against the Gujarat government’s decision, cancelling the examination to select candidates for 1,500 posts in the revenue department.

Apart from other irregularities, it was found that 127 candidates belonging to one family were placed in the provisional merit list. Nearly 178 of them were found to have given the same residential address.

The appellants said the state government had herded all of them together, but the court said eliminating only the wrongdoers from the list would be a time-consuming process. The state government can at the most address the candidate who had crossed the upper age limit, it added.

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