Apex court asks Haryana service commission to explain test changes

December 12th, 2008 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) on a lawsuit questioning its decision to hold an additional preliminary examination, besides the main one, for appointment of judges in the state’s lower courts.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam issued a notice to the HPSC, the state agency entrusted with the task of choosing candidates for the government jobs in the state, on a lawsuit by two Haryana-based lawyers.

Advocates Satish Kumar and Jagbir Malik approached the apex court, challenging a Nov 10 Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling that dismissed their plea questioning the HPSC’s decision to hold an additional preliminary examination for appointment of judges for lower courts in Haryana.

The two advocates contended that the relevant statutory provisions governing the appointment of judges in the state’s lower court never provided for holding the preliminary examination for the purpose.

The relevant provision, namely the Punjab Civil Services (Judicial) Branch Rules, 1951, contained to all details for modalities of holding the examination, including syllabus, maximum marks, duration of examination.

The advocates, desirous of taking the examination for appointment as judges in the state’s lower judiciary, contended that the rules nowhere talked of holding a preliminary examination.

They said the rules for appointment of judges in Haryana lower courts, without holding any preliminary examination, but merely the main one, had been framed by the state government in exercise of its constitutional power.

But by taking a decision to hold an additional preliminary examination, the HPSC has changed the rules and has done something it was not empowered to, said the advocates.

Quoting the rules, the advocates argued “the object for the examination is to test the practical ability of the candidates rather than the range of their theoretical knowledge”.

The proposed preliminary examination, on the other hand, aims to test a wide range of theoretical knowledge, said the lawyers. They added that it is entirely possible that some of the candidates who have the requisite “practical knowledge” of the law as demanded by the rules may not be able to get through the examination owing to their lack of theoretical knowledge.

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