Meghalaya High Court: H.S. Thangkhiew, J., disposed off the petition explaining that the scope of taking cognizance of subsequent facts is limited.

The facts of the case are such that the Meghalaya Public Service Commission (MPSC) had issued an advertisement dated 24.07.2017 inviting applications from eligible candidates to sit for the Examination for Meghalaya Civil Service Junior Grade against approximately 38 vacancies. In the Preliminary Examination, 576 candidates out of 10,730 were declared to have qualified to sit for the Main Examinations. The petitioners herein being aggrieved with the method of selection and procedure adopted in declaring the successful candidates eligible to sit for the Main Examinations, are before this Court by way of the instant writ petition seeking for setting aside the impugned notification dated 05.10.2018 whereby 576 candidates were declared to be qualified to sit for the Main Examinations, to call for the records of all the 576 selected candidates who were successful in the Preliminary Examination, to direct the respondents (MPSC) to prepare fresh selection list by adhering to the examination plan and to declare the resolution dated 22.10.2018 as illegal and arbitrary.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that new facts have been brought on record by the respondents to the effect that a different cutoff mark has been set for the Garo and Khasi-Jaintia and other categories, which is something unknown in the entire history of the MPSC and that such adoption of this procedure was never intimated to the petitioners nor to any candidate and in order to render substantive justice, even in light of new facts been brought before the Court later, this Court has ample jurisdiction under Article 226 of Constitution of India to mould the relief accordingly. It was further submitted that the official advertisement stated that different cutoff marks would be set for the different categories amongst the candidates, and in fact, it had been clearly spelt out that the reservation of the vacancies would be as per the State Reservation Policy, but however, it seems that the respondents had changed the modalities of the examination in a closed-door meeting which is not permissible in the eye of law.

The Court relied on judgment Om Prakash Gupta v. Ranbir B. Goyal, (2002) 2 SCC 256 wherein it was held that,

“12. Such subsequent event may be one purely of law or founded on facts. In the former case, the court may take judicial notice of the event and before acting thereon put the parties on notice of how the change in law is going to affect the rights and obligations of the parties and modify or mould the course of litigation or the relief so as to bring it in conformity with the law. In the latter case, the party relying on the subsequent event, which consist of facts not beyond pale of controversy either as to their existence or in their impact, is expected to have resort to amendment of pleadings under Order 6 Rule 17 CPC. Such subsequent event, the Court may permit being introduced into the pleadings by way of amendment as it would be necessary to do so for the purpose of determining real questions in controversy between parties. In Trojan & Co. v. RM. N.N. Nagappa Chettiar this Court has held that the decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties and it is the case pleaded that has to be found; without the amendment of the pleadings the Court would not be entitled to modify or alter the relief. In Sri Mahant Govind Rao v. Sita Ram Kesho Their Lordships observed that, as a rule, relief not founded on the pleadings should not be granted.”

The court thus observed that in the instant case, the subsequent events as put forward in the additional affidavit if taken into cognizance cautious or otherwise in the present proceedings, will not only be an instance of moulding the relief, but in fact will result in the determination of the matter, on a different cause of action which did not exist at the commencement of the instant writ proceedings. It was observed that the scope of taking effective cognizance of the subsequent facts is severely limited, more so, taking into account the fact that the challenge as it stood in the petition, i.e. to the preliminary results and the changed modality having been answered by the Division Bench of this Court.

The Court held that the subsequent points raised are germane and vital in the larger perspective which governs the conduct of such selection processes, and beg for answers, but these issues cannot, however, be taken cognizance of, and adjudicated upon in the present proceedings, as they were not part of the original pleadings or brought by amendment by adoption of proper procedure, but had been brought on record by way of an additional affidavit.

In view of the above, petition was disposed off.[Dahunshisha Rynjah v. Meghalaya Public Service Commission, 2021 SCC OnLine Megh 3, decided on 27-01-2021]

Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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