allahabad high court

Allahabad High Court: In two petitions filed after the result of Ziledari Qualifying Examination 2018 was cancelled by the State due to malpractice and corruption in the examination, Dinesh Kumar Singh, J. has held that the decision of the Government to cancel the entire examination is as per the mandate of the Constitution and goal as set out in the preamble of the Constitution.

Further, it directed the respondents to conduct the examination and publish its result within a period of the next 60 days from the date of this order. Also, to ensure fairness, sanctity and integrity of the examination, it directed a five members committee, consisting of Engineer-in-Chief, (project), Engineer-in-Chief (Design & Planning), Chief Engineer (Level-I) and two Superintending Engineers to be constituted, which would supervise the entire process of the examination.

The Court also directed the State to appoint two special secretaries in the Department of Irrigation and Water Resources as Special Observers so that the examination is conducted in a free, fair and impartial manner.

The Court said that selection for public employment must be fair, impartial and in accordance with the provisions of recruitment rules and the mandate of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. If there are systematic irregularities, corruption and malpractices, the selection process would get vitiated as it would be in violation of the equality clause as enshrined in Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. If the recruitment process has resulted in a violation of sanctity and fairness of the process itself, such a recruitment process gets vitiated and ought to be cancelled.

The Court has found irregularities in successive enquiry reports. Further, the three members committee, which was responsible for conducting the examination, have been found to have indulged in large scale corruption and allowed systematic irregularities and malpractices in the examination.

The Court viewed that the result of such an examination cannot be given effect to as it would amount to putting premium on gross and systematic irregularities, malpractices and corruption committed in conducting the examination. Any recruitment process to public post should be beyond any suspicion and any malpractice. Corruption in public employment would be against the constitutional goal of equality of status and of opportunity, a goal enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution.

The Court further said that where the recruitment to public employment stands vitiated because of systemic fraud or irregularities, the entire process becomes illegitimate. Large scale irregularities including those which have the effect of denying equal access to similarly circumstanced candidates would erode credibility of the selection process.

Thus, as the reports of the committees suggested that there was no possibility to segregate the candidates, who had indulged in malpractices and deficiencies of serious nature found in the enquiries which had impacted the very legitimacy of the entire examination process, therefore, the Court held that decision of the Government to cancel the entire examination is not irrational or arbitrary.

[Desh Raj Singh v State of UP, 2023 SCC OnLine All 167, Order dated 27-04-2023]

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