Srinagar, Dec 9: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Friday put on hold its single bench’s decision whereby examinations of Junior Engineer-civil (Jal Shakti Department) and Sub Inspector (Home Department) held by Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board (JKSSB) through a ‘blacklisted’ agency- M/s Aptech Limited-were cancelled.
A Division Bench of justice Sindhu Sharma and justice Vinod Chatterji Koul stayed the judgment while issuing notice on an appeal filed by the JKSSB.
Senior advocate Abhishek Gupta appearing for the aggrieved candidates accepted post-admission notice.
The Court ordered for filing “counter” within four weeks and “rejoinder” within one week thereafter, if any.
“Meanwhile, appellant shall proceed with the selection process of Junior Engineer (Jal Shakti Department) and Sub-Inspector (Home Department), however, the result of the same shall await further orders from this Court”, the court said while issuing notice to the other side.
The bench also called for the single judge bench record and listed the matter for further hearing on February 2, next year.
The division bench issued the directions after Advocate General, D C Raina contended that the single bench has decided the plea in contravention to Rule 14 and 15 of the writ proceeding rules and the entire selection process to the post of Junior Engineer (Jal Shakti Department) and Sub-Inspector (Home Department) have been quashed.
In its judgment, the single bench had directed the government to constitute a high level Committee headed by not less than a retired High Court Judge to enquire into the conduct of JKSSB for their brazen “irregularities” and “illegalities” in changing the terms and conditions of the tender. It also asked as to what weighed with them to award a contract to conduct an examination by an organisation which has previously facilitated malpractices in public examinations.
“It has become incumbent on all stakeholders to review the functioning of the Board,” the court had said and held that the process adopted and decision made by awarding contract to M/s Aptech Limited was malafide and change of condition in tender was intended to favour the agency.
The court also quashed the contract awarded by government in favour of the M/s Aptech Limited pursuant to e-NIT (No.19 of 2022) dated 30 September this year for conduct of its various examinations through computer based tests mode.
Consequently, the court said, all the exams- Junior Engineer-civil (Jal Shakti Department) and Sub Inspector (Home Department) held by JKSSB) through M/s Aptech Limited in furtherance of the “award of contract to conduct examinations” are also set aside/cancelled at whatever stage they are as on date.