BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 31: The Gauhati High Court has stayed the selection of 34 assistant magers/superintendents of industries/assistant industries officers in State Industries & Commerce Department. The selection was done by the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC).
The order was passed in a writ petition filed by Prab Das and Sadanda Kalita challenging the selection list published by the APSC on February 16, 2018. The petitioners sought a directive to the respondents to carry out the selection pursuant to the clause of advertisement.
The petitioners challenged the selection process for not being made in terms of the advertisement issued by the APSC on August 11, 2016. As per advertisement, the fil selection was to be made on the basis of viva-voce test.
In response to the advertisement, about 19,000 candidates had applied. In view of receipt of a large number of applications, the APSC went in for the ‘screening test’ in order to eble a limited numbers of candidates to qualify for the viva-voce test. As per Rule 28 of APSC (Procedures & Conduct of Business) Rules 2010, screening test is held only for the purpose of short-listing of eligible candidates for interview. The marks obtained by the candidates in the screening test are not counted for determining the fil order of merit. In the instant case, after conducting the screening test, 145 candidates were admitted to the viva-voce test in the proportion of four times of the total number of vacancies, i.e, 34 x 4=136 + 9 candidates against the tie situation at the bottom.
After hearing advocate Borli Bhuyan, the counsel for the petitioners, a single-judge bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy issued a notice to the official respondents’ returble within four weeks. The counsel appearing for petitioners drew attention of the court as to how the rules of the process of selection have been changed in the mid-way.
The petitioners challenged the preparation of merit list alleging that there were irregularities in the selection process, particularly in the screening test. APSC had erroneously added the screening test marks in addition to the other qualification marks to select the candidates for appointment. After hearing the arguments from both the sides, Justice Roy stayed the process of appointment for four weeks and asked the APSC and the State Government to explain the issues raised by the petitioners.