New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to put on the hold the interviews of 15 candidates for the Delhi Judicial Services as it issued notice to Delhi High Court registry on a PIL seeking the quashing of the result of the main exam that was declared on May 1.
Declining to stay the interviews slated for August 6, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant said that they would only examine the principle involved in the conduct of the examination.
"We are not inclined to stay the interview. However, the results would be dependent on the ultimate outcome of the petition," the bench said as it issued notice which was received by the counsel A.D.N.Rao who had appeared on behalf of the Delhi High Court registry in a caveat.
At the outset of the hearing, counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for petitioner, NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), told the court that for 80 (55 general, 25 reserved) vacancies of DJS, 9,033 candidates appeared in the preliminary exam and 659 of them who succeeded appeared in main exams held on October 10-11, 2014.
In the results declared on May 1 - eight months after the examination - only 15 candidates (13 from general category and two from reserved category) were selected for interviews to be held on August 6.
Addressing the court, Bhushan said that a number of candidates who appeared in the exams were already serving as judicial officers in subordinate judiciary in different states and 10 of them were those who had topped the judicial services examination in their respective states.
He said that 68 who appeared in DJS examinations had earlier cleared the judicial services examination in their respective state and "most of them are sitting judges".
The court was told that "at least six candidates, who have not been selected for the interview, are the first rank holder in the judicial exams of their respective state, and at least three candidate are second rank holders in their respective (state) judicial exams".
"We are not going into that," Justice Misra said as Bhushan urged the court that it may call the answer-sheets of these 10 candidates.
Seeking the quashing of the main exam result, the PIL has sought the re-evaluation of the answer-sheets by an independent expert committee headed by a retired high court judge.
"This is an examination in which very good candidates have appeared. Something has gone wrong.. either standard of evaluation was very high," Bhushan told the court saying that CPIL has moved the PIL after several candidate who had appeared in the exam approached it.
The PIL challenged the main 2014 DJS exam on the grounds of "selection and evaluation" process being unreasonable and arbitrary" and in "violation of article 14" of the constitution. It also noted that two of the successful candidates - ranked number one and three - are children of sitting judges of the high court.
It noted several unsuccessful candidates had masters' degrees in law from Indian Law Institute and National Law School, Bengaluru and some were National Eligibility Test qualified law lecturers of well-known colleges including Delhi University's law faculty.
Rao, however told the court that there was nothing unusual in the exam and its result as he cited an example of Madhya Pradesh, where for 20 vacancies, a large number of candidates appeared but just one candidate succeeded.
Asking the High Court registry to file its response and NGO CPIL its rejoinder, the court directed listing of the matter after five weeks.