Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of V.K. Tahilramani, Acting CJ and M.S. Sonak, J., dismissed a writ petition challenging the judgment of Central Administrative Tribunal wherein the Tribunal declined to interfere with the recommendations for promotion by DPC, Union Public Service Commission.

The dispute related to seniority and promotion of the petitioners as well as respondents. The petitioners contended that in the year 2000, the DPC had applied the yardstick of seniority-cum-fitness for promotions. However, in 2003, it applied some other yardstick, which, according to the petitioners, vitiated the proceedings of DPC. The Tribunal dismissed the original applications filed by the petitioners. Aggrieved thus, the petitioners filed the instant petition.

The High Court was unable to accept petitioners’ contention that DPC had adopted any unequal yardstick. In the affidavit filed by UPSC, it categorically stated that for the period in question, the selections were held in strict compliance of the regulations then in force. The petitioners failed to show that the procedure was in breach of the regulations. The Court relied on Supreme Court decision in Nutan Avind v. Union of India, 1996 (2) SCC 488, to observe that UPSC being a statutory body, and in absence of the petitioners demonstrating any statutory breach or mala fides, ordinarily it is not for the tribunals and courts to second-guess decisions of such expert bodies. For the said reasons, the High Court dismissed the petition. [Sadanand J. Koche v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1916, dated 12-07-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Information Commission (CIC): In a landmark case CIC held that a candidate can seek answer sheets of other candidates and that this is not marred by Section 8(1)(e) and Section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act. However, it is subject to Sections 3 and 6.

The departmental examination which was conducted to decide the promotion on the job for the post of EO/AO comprised of four papers, out of which three were objective and one was descriptive in nature. Since the fourth paper was descriptive, no model answers were prepared. Around 3,000 candidates appeared in the exam out of which only 5 candidates were selected and this appellant was qualified but was not in the final list of four selected candidates as there were only four vacancies while the appellant stood at Number 5. Appellant wanted model answers for the Fourth Question paper also. The public authority has disclosed the questions and answers of all the candidates regarding three papers but refused to give four answer-sheets of four qualified candidates to the appellant. The appellant claimed that he wanted to check the answers given by four who topped above him and where he lacked in and if he was really ineligible to secure promotion.

The legality of demanding answer sheet in the examination is in principle upheld by the Supreme Court in CBSE v. Aditya Bandhopadhyay, (2011) 8 SCC 497 provided that the request is made during a reasonable time in which the authorities are expected to retain the answer scripts. SC held that answer book also does not fall under any of the exemption provided under (a) to (j) of sub-section 1 of Section 8 of RTI Act. So, an examining body does not hold the evaluated answer books in a fiduciary relationship under Section 8(1)(e).

In Kewal Singh Gautam v. State of Chhattisgarh, AIR 2011 Chh 143, Chhattisgarh High Court held that conduct of examination by the departmental agency for promotion in Govt. department, are not private activities, but in public domain and the checking and evaluation of answer sheet by an examiner and the marks given by him upon assessment of performance has nothing to do with the privacy of either the examiner or those who are responsible for conducting the examination so Section 8 (1)(j) is not attracted.

In Centre of Earth Science Studies v. Dr. Mrs. Anson Sebastian 2010 SCC OnLine Ker 541, where one employee sought information pertaining to documents relating to domestic enquiry against another employee and also for getting entries in confidential report of six other employees of the appellant, repelling the claim of exemption under Section 8(1)(j) of the Act of 2005, the Division Bench of High Court of Kerala held that provision of Section 8(1)(j) are not attracted.

CIC analysed that in CBSE v. Aditya Bandopadhya, (2011) 8 SCC 497 the Supreme Court said no, but on certain practical issues. The CBSE pleaded that if it has to share certified copies of answer-sheets of other to each and every candidate seeking under RTI, it would lead to chaos and divert substantial resources. In UPSC v. Angesh Kumar,  (2018) 4 SCC 530,  the Court read the inherent limitation in Sections 3 and 6 as pertaining to revelation of information that is likely to conflict with other public interests including efficient operations of the Governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information. The Supreme Court referred to the problems in showing evaluated answer sheets in the UPSC Civil Services Examination in Prashant Ramesh Chakkarwar v. UPSC, (2013) 12 SCC 489.

CIC observed that the most important point was that the rejection in CBSE and UPSC cases was not based on any exception under Section 8(1) including (e) & (j). CIC concluded that no such difficulty exists in the present case and the appellant was entitled to get copies of answer sheet of the four candidates who topped. [Shailendra Kumar Singh v. PIO, EPFO, CIC/EPFOG/A/2018/614958, decided on 08-06-2018]

NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Public Service Commission of Mauritius. The MoU will strengthen the existing relationship between UPSC and Public Service Commission of Mauritius. It will facilitate sharing of experience and expertise of both the parties in the area of recruitment. The MoU will develop institutionalized linkage between the Public Service Commissions of two countries. It defines the scope of cooperation between the PSC, Mauritius and the UPSC and sets out the areas of cooperation and obligations of the parties.

The areas of co-operation include the following

  • exchange of experience on modern approach to public service recruitment and selection, particularly the functions of the UPSC and the PSC;
  • exchange of information and expertise including books, manuals and other documents which are not of a confidential nature;
  • sharing of expertise in the use of Information Technology (IT) in the preparation of written examinations and holding of computer based recruitment tests and online examinations;
  • sharing of experience in single window system for expeditious scrutiny and speedy disposal of applications;
  • sharing of experience and expertise on the various processes involved in the examination system which are routine in nature;
  • organizing training sessions for officials, including through short attachments to the parties secretariat/headquarters on air matters concerned by the respective mandate of the parties.
  • sharing of experience on the modalities adopted on audit of processes and procedures followed by various Government Agencies in recruitment of posts under the delegated powers.

Background:

In the past, UPSC had signed MoU with Public Service Commission of Canada and Bhutan. The MoU with Canada was in existence during 15-03-2011 to 14-03-2014. The MoU with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), Bhutan was signed by UPSC on 10-11-2005 for a period of 3 years. It was renewed on 09-09-2011 for a period of 3 years which expired by 08-09-2014. In pursuance of these MoUs, UPSC had conducted attachments and training programmes for the officers of RCSC, Bhutan.  Recently, an MoU was signed between UPSC and RCSC, Bhutan for the 3rd time on 29-05-2017 valid for a period of 3 years.

[Press Release no. 1523088]

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions