Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday stayed a notification by J&K Public Service Commission regarding new list of candidates having declared to have qualified Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS)-2016 preliminary exams.
The J&KPSC, on August 9, issued the notification following the controversy over wrong answer keys shown against 24 questions in the prelims test. It dropped 429 out of 6925 candidates who were declared qualified earlier, citing they could not make to the revised cut-off merit of 277.275 marks after applying revised answer keys.
Hearing a petition by the candidates who were selected in earlier list and dropped in fresh one, a single bench Justice M K Hanjura issued a notice to the J&KPSC, calling for its response to the contention raised in the plea within four weeks.
“In the meantime, subject to the objections and till next date before the Bench, the operation of the impugned notification (No. PSC/exams/2017/44) dated 09.08.2017 is stayed,” the court said.
Advocate Arif Sikander Mir, counsel representing the petitioners—Hidayat Ahmad Mir and others—told Kashmir Observer that the J&KPSC has gone against the Supreme Court guidelines on the subject.
“The applicants are KAS aspirants who were in the earlier list and in second, they are out. Earlier cut off was 270.77 marks and after revaluation, they have decided to have cut-off point at 277.275 and as such all the candidates who have secured between 270 and 277 marks are out. As per Supreme Court guidelines, they cannot fix new cut-off and once they do it, it has retrospective effect and such rules of selection are changed,” he said, contending that the apex court has categorically stated that “nothing can be done with rules that have retrospective effect.”
“Under the grab of setting answer keys all right, they have in-fact done revaluation as additional or subtraction is revaluation and under rules, revaluation is not permitted,” he said.
Thirdly, he said, in an affidavit filed before the Jammu wing of the high court, the J&KPSC has “on record” stated that all discrepancies were corrected before first result was declared.
The J&KPSC had issued the fresh prelims list after the aggrieved candidates filed an RTI on March 24, seeking the key, Xerox copy of OMR sheets and total score obtained.
During inspection of OMR sheets, the answer keys of general studies and political science were exhibited without authority and against rule, the notification reads.
Amid hue and cry J&KPSC kept preliminary result in abeyance and notification for KAS Main exams was withdrawn.
36,681 candidates had appeared in both the papers in the preliminary Examination held on 19 March this year and result was declared on April 23 with 6925 candidates declared to have qualified for main examination by making the last cut off point as 270.477 marks out of aggregate of 450 marks.