Jharkhand Public Service … vs Manoj Kumar Gupta on 18 December, 2019

Supreme Court of India

Jharkhand Public Service … vs Manoj Kumar Gupta on 18 December, 2019

Author: Deepak Gupta

Bench: Deepak Gupta, Aniruddha Bose


                                   IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                    CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                   CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9441 OF 2019
                         (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO.14926 OF 2017)

         COMMISSION                                               …PETITIONER(S)


         MANOJ KUMAR GUPTA AND ANR.                              …RESPONDENT(S)


                              CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9442 OF 2019
                  (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 31106 OF 2017)


Deepak Gupta, J.

The Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC) issued an

advertisement on 19.07.2006 inviting applications from

candidates desirous of competing in the Jharkhand Eligibility

Test (JET). This test is not meant for selection to any post but is
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
Date: 2019.12.19

conducted to determine the eligibility of the candidates for
12:36:18 IST

appointment as lecturers in universities and colleges of the State
of Jharkhand. This test called the State Level Eligibility Test

(SLET) is conducted as per the guidelines laid down by the

University Grants Commission (UGC).

2. The test consists of three papers – the first two papers are

multiple choice questions to be answered on an Optical Mark

Reader (OMR). One test is of a general subject and one test is of

the subject for which the candidate applies. The third paper is a

descriptive type question paper dealing only with the subject

selected by the candidate. Relevant portion of the advertisement

reads as follows:

“A candidate who does not appear in Paper­I will
not be permitted to appear in Paper­II and
Paper­III. Paper­III will be evaluated only for
those candidates who are able to secure the
minimum qualifying marks in Paper­I and
Paper­II as per the table given in the following:­





GENERAL/OBC 40 40 100 (50%)

PH/VH 35 35 90 (45%)

SC/ST 35 35 80 (40%)


3. The writ petitioner obtained 50% marks in Papers I and II

but he did not do as well in Paper III. The JPSC fixed a cut off

percentage of 60 for Paper III which the writ petitioner did not

attain and as such he was declared not successful and, therefore,

ineligible to be considered for appointment as lecturer.

4. Aggrieved by the said action, the writ petitioner filed a writ

petition before the High Court which allowed the same. The

appeal filed by the JPSC before the writ court was also allowed

mainly on the ground that the Public Service Commission could

not have fixed qualifying marks of 60% and this amounted to

changing the rules of the game after the advertisement had been

issued and process of selection had started. It held that once the

candidate had obtained 50% marks, the candidate could not be

disqualified and the JPSC was not bound by the instructions of

the UGC in this regard. The High Court also directed that the

case of the writ petitioner would be considered on the basis of

performance. The High Court held that no cut off marks had

been provided for Paper III.


5. We have heard Shri Sunil Kumar, learned senior counsel

appearing for the JPSE who drew our attention to the scheme

framed by the UGC for the SLET. The scheme has a provision for

constitution of a moderation committee which will help in

deciding the cut off marks in each subject for declaring the

result. The relevant portion of the scheme reads as follows:

“Moderation Committee: The committee will help in
deciding the cut­off marks in each subject for
declaring the result. The Committee will consist of
the following:

1. Chairman of Steering/Advisory Committee.

2. State Government Representatives.

3. Two Professors of the different State Universities
in rotation.

4. One Professor from outside the State.

5. Member Secretary (State agency)

6. One nominee of the U­CAT out of two nominated
by UGC.

7. Member Secretary, (UGC Official) U­CAT, UGC.”

Mr. Sunil Kumar contends that the moderation committee,

keeping in view the various factors, decides what should be the

cut off marks in each subject and this does not have to be

decided at the stage of issuance of advertisement. On the other

hand, Shri Abhishek Vikas, learned counsel appearing for the

original writ petitioner, submits that the advertisement does not

envisage any minimum cut­off marks for Paper III. He further

submits that this is only an eligibility test and the field of choice

becomes larger if more people are held eligible. Both sides have

challenged the judgment of the High Court and we are deciding

both the appeals by this common judgment.

6. A perusal of Clause 4.1 of the scheme clearly indicates that

the moderation committee has been constituted only for the

purpose of deciding the cut­off marks in each subject for

declaring the result. The advertisement clearly indicates that

only those candidates who obtained 50% marks in Paper I and II

would be eligible to take the test in Paper III. The minimum

qualifying marks in case of General/OBC candidates was 50%.

At this stage, there was no need to fix the qualifying marks for

Paper III. That need will arise only when the moderation

committee meets and decides what should be the level of

competence expected from the people who are to be considered

for appointment as Lecturers. It is for the moderation committee

to decide what should be the cut­off marks. There could be the

subject where all the people who qualified Paper I and II get very

low marks in Paper III and the moderation committee may be
justified in lowering the standards and prescribing lower

qualifying standards. On the other hand, there may be a subject

where there are many candidates who do extremely well in

Paper III and the moderation committee may decide to fix a

higher minimum standard. The constitution of a moderation

committee is normally done only to do this sort of moderation.

7. As far as the finding of the High Court that the rules of the

game were changed after the selection process had started, we

are of the considered view that this is not the case as far as the

present case is concerned. There were no minimum marks

provided for Paper III in the advertisement. This could be done

by the moderation committee even at a later stage. This is not a

change brought about but an additional aspect brought in while

determining the merit of the candidates who are found fit to be

eligible for consideration for appointment of Lecturers.

8. In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that

the High Court erred in holding that the JPSC could not fix the

minimum marks for Paper III. Hence, we set aside the judgment

of the High Court dated 09.11.2016. The Civil Appeal No. 9441
of 2019 @ Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.14926 of 2017 filed by

the Jharkhand Public Service Commission is allowed and C.A.

No. 9442 of 2019 @Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.31106 of

2017 filed by the other side (writ petitioner) is dismissed.


(L. Nageswara Rao)


(Deepak Gupta)
New Delhi,
December 18, 2019


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