Rajasthan High Court: A Division Bench of Akil Kureshi CJ and Sudesh Bansal J. stayed the impugned judgment and left it open for RPSC to conduct a written main examination on the rescheduled date.
Being dissatisfied with the answer key published by the respondent-Rajasthan Public Service Commission i.e. the RPSC’, this batch of writ petitions was filed by the candidates who have failed to secure position in the list of candidates eligible to appear in the mains examination of RAS/RTS Combined Competitive Examination-2021. Mahendar Kumar Goyal J. partly allowed the writ petitions and quashed the final answer key dated 22-11-2021 and result dated 19-11-2021. The RPSC was directed to revise the result of the preliminary examination and to prepare a fresh list of candidates eligible to appear in the mains examination accordingly. The instant appeal arise out of this impugned judgment of Single Judge dated 22-02-2022.
Counsel for petitioners submitted that the Single Judge has examined all the concerned questions carefully and when it was found that the decision of RPSC was wholly incorrect, interference was made. In majority of the cases the direction is only for reconsideration by the experts committee. originally the written main examination was scheduled on 25.02.2022 and 26.02.2022 however in view of the decision of the learned Single Judge the same has been cancelled and would be rescheduled for later.
Counsel for respondents submitted that the Single Judge has committed serious error in interfering with the decision of the experts body. RPSC had entertained all objections and examined the same carefully before coming to its final conclusions. Whenever it was found necessary experts committees were formed. In cases where the questions were found to be ambiguous or no clear cut single answer was correct the RPSC decided to delete the question to avoid any injustice. In some cases even the correct answer was changed accepting the objections of the candidates. Once this exercise is completed, the scope of judicial review is extremely limited. Unless the decision of the experts body such as RPSC is tainted with malafides or suffers from material procedural irregularity or is totally irrational, no intereference is demanded from the Courts.
The Court relied on the judgment of Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission v. Rahul Singh, (2018) 7 SCC 254 and observed that not only the onus is on the candidates to demonstrate that the key answer is incorrect, but also that it is a glaring mistake which is totally apparent and no inferential process or reasoning is required to show that the key answer is wrong.
The court stated that broadly the approach in such situation is that the scope of judicial review against expert’s opinion is extremely limited. There is a requirement of finality to the process of public employment. This is not to suggest that judicial review is completely shutout; it cannot be. However unless the situation presents a clear cut, black and white, open and shut choice of the decision of the expert body being palpably wrong, the Court would not interfere. An element of tolerance to the minor error or calibration is discernible since achieving certainty and finality is also important. The finality and perfection are sworn enemies.
The Court observed “we have strong prima facie belief that the learned Judge had exceeded the scope of writ jurisdiction in the present case. No legal or factual malafides are demonstrated nor procedural illegality established. It may be that in some cases there is a grey area. That by itself would not be sufficient for the writ court to upturn the decision of the expert’s body.”
The Court held “we find that the appellants have made out a strong prima facie case not only for further hearing of the appeals but also for staying the judgment of the learned Single Judge. Under the circumstances impugned judgment is stayed. Resultantly it would be open for RPSC to conduct written main examination on the rescheduled date.” [RPSC v. Ankit Sharma, D.B. Special Appeal Writ No. 429/2022, decided on 23-02-2022]
For Appellant(s) : Mr. M.S. Singhvi, Mr. Sheetanshu Sharma, Mr. Siddhant Jain, Mr. Yash Joshi and Mr. Pranav Bhansali, Mr. M.F. Baig and Mr. Amit Lubhaya
For Respondent(s): Mr. R.N. Mathur, Mr. Shovit Jhajharia, Mr. Raghunandan Sharma with Mr. Abhinav Srivastava, Mr. Ram Pratap Saini