NEW DELHI: The Central Administrative Tribunal has set aside the selection of candidates by the UPSC to 57 posts in the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2013, saying it disregarded the principles laid down by the Supreme Court for the conduct of exam.
The tribunal's order came on a petition by a man who had challenged the selection procedure adopted by the Union Public Service Commission in that year, contending that the UPSC had allotted 50 per cent weightage to interview section in violation of the apex court's directive that the marks cannot exceed 15 per cent.
A bench of CAT Chairman Narasimha Reddy and Administrative member Pradeep Kumar said one cannot expect the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to remove itself from the position of an ideal employer, that too after "the Supreme Court treated it as a role model, and go to the extent of allocating 50 per cent of marks for interview, that too without revealing it in the notification".
It said this kind of exercise does not auger well for a premier and reputed agency like the UPSC.
Petitioner Mukesh Kumar Suman had contended that according to the laws laid down by the Supreme Court, when the selection process comprises of written test and interview, the marks allocated for the latter cannot exceed 15 per cent.
The tribunal while setting aside the selections to 57 posts in the ministry, also ordered the Commission to re-do the exercise and publish the results after allocating 15 per cent weighage to interview.
It also directed the Commission that if any of the selected candidates need to be displaced on account of the exercise, they be adjusted against the existing or subsequent vacancy.
The premiere constitutional recruitment agency had conducted test for 57 posts of Assistant Labour Commissioner and other equivalent posts in the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2013.
The Commission had released an advertisement declaring the selection process, which included a written objective type test followed by interview.
As per the advertisement, the weightage was to be decided by the Commission.
Suman had secured 75 marks in the written test, which was 4th in rank but he was awarded 40 marks in the interview and was out of selection.
In his petition, he cited similar instances where a candidate who secured just 45 marks in the written test was awarded 74 marks in the interview and hence was selected.
The tribunal agreed that if the rules or guidelines of selection for appointment are indicated in the recruitment notification, a candidate who participated in the selection cannot assail the same when it is found that he is not selected, and if he had any objection to the selection process, he was required to approach the court or tribunal, well in advance, and before participation.
However, it said if it ultimately emerges that the selection process was not in accordance with law, then the principle of estoppel cannot be pressed.
The tribunal said that the Commission knew very well that in case it discloses in the notification that 50 per cent marks would be allocated for interview, it was bound to be challenged, in all probability and therefore, it had kept the candidates in total dark.
"The secrecy which it was required to maintain, in the context of conducting of examination was applied to a vital condition of selection, namely, allocation of marks for interview, and stipulation as to minimum marks," the tribunal said.
It said that the result of such a "secret operation" has ultimately emerged on the expected lines.
It noted that the applicant who has secured 75 per cent marks in the written test (highest being 79) was awarded the least, that too below the minimum marks in the interview, that is, 40, and a candidate who secured 47 marks in the written test was awarded 74 marks in the interview.
The tribunal took note of the fact that earlier, the UPSC had been following the practice of allocating 15 per cent weightage to interview.