The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Job bias suit on Nitish

Nagpur, Nov. 26 (PTI): The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has stayed the appointment of goods guards and assistant station masters in the railway on a petition alleging favouritism by Nitish Kumar towards candidates from Bihar.

Justices Vijay Daga and Bhushan Gavai yesterday issued notices to the railway minister, the chairman of the Railway Recruitment Board, the secretary (railway), the assistant secretary of the recruitment board in Bhopal and his counterpart in Mumbai to show cause in response to the petition filed by five candidates from Nagpur.

The petitioners have alleged that Kumar had exerted pressure on the board chairman to select most of the candidates from Bihar. “Thus he made a mockery of the constitutional guarantee of equality before law,” they contended.

They informed the court that in response to a June 29, 2002, advertisement for the posts of goods guards and assistant station masters, they had applied along with some 500 other candidates from Nagpur.

But the results, declared on July 21, 2003, sent shockwaves as only 10 examinees from the city had succeeded while more than 90 per cent successful candidates were from Bihar.

Only one written examination followed by a psychological test was conducted for the post of assistant station masters, the petitioners said.

About 80 per cent from more than 200 candidates picked up for the psycholo- gical test failed while the majority of the candidates who made it to the final list were from Bihar.

“The board has abused its authority by showing favo- uritism,” they said. The petitioners have demanded a CBI probe into the selection process for these posts. They have also prayed for an inquiry by a committee of a high court judge or a person of his status and integrity.

Last week, the Shiv Sena had threatened to disrupt the recruitment tests on November 23 if Maharashtrians were not guaranteed maximum number of jobs in the region.

The board cancelled the examination, citing extreme damage to its computer system and other records following violent protests by Sena activists on November 18.

After the results were declared in July, the aggrieved candidates first met the authorities and later submitted a memorandum to the railway minister during his visit to the city on September 3.

But with nothing coming forthwith, they filed the petition.

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