HC asks J-K administration to probe ‘irregularities’ by SSRB, cancels JE, SI exams

JK High Court also cancelled the examinations to be conducted by the board for the posts of junior engineer and sub-inspector of police.

JK High Court cancels exams held for junior engineer, sub-inspector of police. (Representative image)JK High Court cancels exams held for junior engineer, sub-inspector of police. (Representative image)

Press Trust of India | December 8, 2022 | 10:35 PM IST

JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday directed the Lieutenant Governor administration to probe the alleged “brazen irregularities and illegalities” by the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board (JKSSRB) in the conduct of various recruitment examinations.

The court also cancelled the examinations to be conducted by the board for the posts of junior engineer and sub-inspector of police. The CBI had in November filed a charge sheet against 24 people, including a former BSF commandant, for allegedly leaking the question paper of the police sub-inspector recruitment examination conducted by the JKSSRB, according to officials.

"All the exams including junior engineer-civil (jal shakti department) and sub inspector (home department) held by (SSRB) through Aptech limited in furtherance of the aforementioned award of contract to conduct examinations are also set aside and cancelled at whatever stage they are as on date", a single-bench of the High Court headed by Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal said.

The court said keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and for the foregoing reasons, it was of the opinion that the process adopted and decision made by awarding contract to Aptech Limited is "malafide" and change of condition in tender was intended to favour Aptech Limited.

"These decisions will have an effect on public interest as the respondent number 2 (Aptech) has been assigned to conduct examinations, wherein the selectees will be appointed to hold public posts, accordingly this writ petition is allowed and the contract awarded by respondent No 1 (SSRB) in favour of Aptech pursuant to e-NIT for conduct of its various examinations through computer-based tests mode is quashed," the court said in its order.

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It further said the present writ petition has been filed by the petitioners, who claim to be the aspirants and have responded to the advertisement for various examinations to be conducted by the JKSSB. The two such examinations are JE and SI to which all the petitioners have responded to and applied.

The petitioners had sought a direction to the JKSSRB not to conduct any examination through Aptech Limited, which has been “blacklisted” in the past. The board had announced tentative dates from December 5 to December 20 to conduct the recruitment examinations.

The petitioners had further sought a direction to appoint some other agency, which is not previously blacklisted, for conducting such examinations through Computer Based Test Mode (CBTM) involving public employment. It has been brought to the notice of the court that the matter at presently is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and recently it had filed a charge sheet in these matters, the court said.

It ordered a probe and directed the government to constitute a high-level committee headed by not less than a retired high court judge to enquire into the conduct of Service Selection Board for its "brazen irregularities and illegalities" in changing the terms and conditions of the tender.

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Questioning the process, the court, in the order, said "as to what weighed with them to award a contract to conduct an examination by an organisation which has previously facilitated malpractices in public examinations and accordingly appropriate action be initiated against those found guilty”.

"I would like to say that by its own act of omission and commission, the functioning of Board does not inspire confidence in holding public examinations. It has become incumbent on all stakeholders to review the functioning of the Board," the judge observed.

Meanwhile, in an order issued on Thursday, the JKSSB said, “It is hereby notified that the examination (CBT) for the post of Sub Inspector, Home Department advertised vide Notification no. 06 of 2021, scheduled for 9th December 2022, has been postponed. The fresh date of examination shall be notified separately.”

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