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PSC recruitment power stayed

Ranchi, Sept. 29: Jharkhand High Court today directed the government and the Jharkhand Public Service Commission not to proceed with the “recommendatory process” till the appointment of the full commission.

The court, however, clarified that the examinations and evaluation conducted by the commission till date would be treated as valid.

A division bench of Chief Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan and Justice R.K. Merathia was disposing of five petitions filed by Agam Lal Mahto, Sushan Chandra Kumar, Sachindra Prasad Singh, the Jharkhand State Unemployed Primary Teachers’ Union and the Jharkhand Justice Forum.

Four of the petitions called for an increase in the age of candidates for primary teachers’ examination and a change of syllabus for this exam.

Another challenged the appointment of the commission members, the commission’s authority as it had only two members -– chairman and a member -– instead of the stipulated five, and the evaluation process of primary teachers’ exam papers.

Early this month, the commission had indicated that it was ready with the results that would pave the way for the appointment of over 9,000 primary school teachers. The results for the tests held on May 27 were held up because of the petitions before the high court.

The court today dismissed four of the petitions and partly allowed the fifth, filed by the Forum.

The court ruled that until the full commission -- as envisaged in its rule of Regulation (Condition of Service) -- is set up, the process of selection and recommendation (that is recruitment) should be postponed.

The bench observed that the government had till date failed to appoint the requisite number of members to the commission as provided for in the regulation the state formulated on January 16 –- a commission comprising one chairman and four members. The court ruled that it was necessary to have a full-fledged public service commission after the formation of a state.

The bench, however, refused to interfere in the appointment of commission members, saying the court did not have the jurisdiction to do so -– according to a ruling of the Supreme Court. The bench also did not comment on the commission’s evaluation and examination process.

The court refused to quash the commission’s advertisement, notifying the examination, published on August 28, 2002, and April 21, 2003.

Earlier, the state counsel had contended that the commission with a chairman and a member should be allowed to proceed with the recruitment.

The counsel had tried to drive his point home by citing the instance of Jharkhand High Court, which he said had a Chief Justice and only four judges -- instead of the required 12 -– when it was established.

The state had failed to name all members of the commission after the selection of likely candidates ran into trouble over their educational qualifications.

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