The High Court on Thursday asked the Public Service Commission to justify if the selection body could revisit the preliminary selection list of KAS. The court also sought examination record from the PSC.
"Does the rule provide for reframing of the list, it is the crucial question you will have to answer and justify. Was the revisiting of the result indispensable? Was it a bona-fide exercise," a division bench of justice Janak Raj Kotwal and justice Sanjeev Kumar asked Azhar ul Amin representing PSC.
While the bench observed that it is unprecedented that the PSC has changed the entire result of an examination, the PSC counsel however said it has happened earlier also.
In response to a query as to what were the compelling circumstances under which result was re-farmed, the PSC counsel said: "It is in the interest of the examination process that the rectified key was applied to all the subjects across board".
The other option available, he said, was to restore the notification which had nullified the result made on the basis of wrong key.
The counsel replied in affirmative after court asked him whether during the course of inspection the key was provided to the candidates.
When the court asked the counsel as to why Rule 12 ( B) was deleted and made so many candidates to suffer because of the wrong key applied, the PSC counsel said "No other state PSC even UPSC is revealing the Key".
The PSC counsel pleaded that fundamentally it is wrong to say that once a cut off is fixed it can't be changed. "The single bench's order that reframing amounts to retrospective operation of the rule is disagreeable. Allowing 429 candidates breaches the statute itself," he said.
The bench was hearing an appeal by the PSC against its single bench order directing the commission to allow 429 candidates who were debarred from taking mains KAS exam following reframing of the preliminary merit list.
The single bench had reproached the PSC for doing away with Rule 12 (B) from the text of the provisions of the J&K Public Service Commission (Conduct of Examination) Rules, 2005. Under the said rule the PSC was bound to disclose answer Key to the candidates.
"Had the respondents not deleted Rule 12(B) from the text of the provisions of the J&K Public Service Commission (Conduct of Examination) Rules, 2005, the position, as it emerges today, would not have surfaced. "On the basis of the said rule, they could have done the exercise earlier also," the court had said.
"What motivated the respondents (PSC) to revise the entire process, after taking a definite stand that the process initiated by them had no moles and holes in it, is a mystery?" the court had said.
The bench will hear the case tomorrow at 2 pm and senior counsel Z A Shah will argue on behalf of the 429 candidates.