Supreme Court: In a breather to the candidates challenging the RAS Pre-examination result, the bench of KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ has confirmed the Rajasthan High Court’s division bench directing Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) to go ahead with the RAS/RTS Combined Competitive Examination-2021 mains examination. It has, however, allowed the 243 candidates, who had approached the Courts, to sit in the Mains Examination to be conducted on March 20-21, 2022.
243 candidates, who had failed to secure position in the list of candidates eligible to appear in the mains examination of RAS/RTS Combined Competitive Examination-2021 had approached the Single Bench of the Rajasthan High Court. It was the case of the candidates that as per the answer key published by the RPSC, some of the answers were marked wrong in the key and hence, it had affected their result.
Single Bench’s order
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. This order dated February 22, 2022, came 3 days before the Main Examination was originally scheduled to take place i.e. February 25-26, 2022, not leaving much choice with the RPSC but to reschedule the examination.
Division Bench’s order
The Bench of Akil Kureshi CJ and Sudesh Bansal J. stayed the impugned Single Bench order and left it open for RPSC to conduct a written main examination on the rescheduled date.
Noticing that generally the scope of judicial review against expert’s opinion is extremely limited, 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.”
Hence, the RPSC had made out a strong prima facie case not only for further hearing of the appeals but also for staying the judgment of the Single Judge.
Supreme Court’s order
The Court refused to interfere with the Division Bench’s order noticing in particular that the order is one granting interlocutory relief and the main matter is pending adjudication.
RPSC had submitted before the Court that the 243 persons before the learned Single Judge in the High Court including the petitioners before this Court can be permitted to participate in the main examination subject to certain safeguards.
The Court, hence, directed that the petitioners in both these cases and also the rest of the persons who approached the Single Judge shall be permitted to sit in the Mains examination to take place on 20th and 21st March, 2022.
The Court, however, made clear that it will be subject to the result of the appeals pending adjudication before the High Court.
“The result of this group shall be kept in a sealed cover and a further decision in regard to them will abide by the result of the appeals before the High Court.”
The Court, hence, directed RPSC to take necessary steps for facilitating the participation of the 243 candidates.
[Ankit Sharma v. Rajasthan Public Service Commission, Special Leave to Appeal (C) Nos. 4270-4271/2022, order dated 14.03.2022]
For Candidates: Senior Advocate Guru Krishna Kumar
For RPSC: Senior Advocates Dr. A. M. Singhvi and V. Giri