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Supreme Court provisionally allows debarred HPPSC candidate to appear in examination

Shimla, July 7

A Himachal Judicial Service aspirant was denied participation in the preliminary examination by the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (Commission) in Shimla due to a shortage of a specific document. However, the petitioner approached the Supreme Court of India seeking permission to appear in the examination. The Supreme Court provisionally allowed the petitioner to participate in the online examination on Sunday, despite being debarred by the Commission from the Himachal Pradesh Judicial Service Examination.

The candidate also filed a similar plea in the Himachal Pradesh High Court, but no relief was granted. The Commission had debarred the candidate for not submitting the credential certificate in the appropriate format, which was required for the examination scheduled for July 9, 2023.

Granting interim relief, a Bench comprising Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice KV Vishwanathan directed the Commission to issue necessary admit cards to the petitioners and ensure that the admit cards indicate the examination center. The Bench clarified that the interim relief allowing the petitioners to provisionally appear for the examination does not guarantee equity in their favor and is subject to the final outcome of the petition. The Bench also issued a notice for a special leave petition challenging the orders of the Himachal Pradesh High Court in this matter.

The counsel representing the petitioner informed the Bench that, according to the Commission, the petitioner had uploaded Aadhaar cards of the individuals who issued the credential certificates instead of the certificates themselves. The petitioner argued that as per the advertisement issued on April 22, 2023, the submission of the credential certificate was not mentioned as an essential requirement. The petitioner contended that the failure to submit the certificate in the appropriate format was a curable defect.

The counsel representing other petitioners stated that their candidatures were rejected due to defective credential certificates. They explained that instead of mentioning the candidate’s name, the issuer of the certificate had written ‘the applicant.’ The counsel argued that such a mistake should not be grounds for rejection and further claimed that the respondents had allowed similarly situated candidates to rectify their credential certificates.

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Justice Vishwanathan addressed the counsel representing the state government, stating, “See, this is not a material breach.” The counsel for the state responded that an opportunity was given to all candidates to rectify documents that did not conform to the advertisement.

Justice JK Maheshwari expressed his opinion, questioning the cancellation of candidature based solely on the issue of credentials. He stated, “So far as the credentials are concerned, we can understand that they qualify for the examination, and then the credentials are required. But how can you cancel the candidature on this ground? Where is the question of canceling the candidature?”

Previously, on July 5, the Himachal Pradesh High Court dismissed a similar plea from the candidate, upholding the Commission’s decision to disqualify the petitioner for failing to submit ‘Credential Certificates’ in the prescribed format along with their application for the post of Civil Judge (Junior Division).


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