Finalizing Selection Process under 2010 Rules: APSC vs. Rekha Pandey

In a recent judgement, the Supreme Court has resolved the dispute between APSC and Rekha Pandey regarding the selection process for Assistant Engineer (Civil) posts. The Court has mandated that the selection process should be finalized under the 2010 Rules, providing clarity and fairness to all parties involved.


  • An advertisement was issued on 21 December, 2018 to fill 65 posts of Assistant Engineer (Civil) by APSC.
  • The screening test for this was conducted on 30 June, 2019 under the 2010 Rules without negative marking.
  • A challenge was made in the Gauhati High Court against the 2010 Rules through WP (C) No 1998 of 2017.
  • The APSC adopted the 2019 Procedure during the pendency of the above challenge.
  • The APSC has appealed in this case to challenge the Gauhati High Court’s decision on a portion of the 2019 Procedure.
  • The selection process norms changed mid-stream, affecting the ongoing recruitment for Assistant Engineer (Civil) vacancies.
  • The previous norms under the 2010 Rules focused on academic merit, subject knowledge, relevant qualifications, and service experience for selection.
  • The allocation of marks in the viva-voce test was specified under the 2010 Rules based on academic/professional qualification, subject knowledge, and general bearing.
  • The portion of Clause 12.2 incorporated with effect from 1 April, 2019 was struck down by the High Court.
  • This portion was included in the 2019 Procedure.
  • The High Court’s decision came after the screening test conducted on 30.06.2019.

Also Read: Challenging Minimum Qualifying Marks in Viva Voce Test: Abhimeet Sinha vs. Bihar and Gujarat Judicial Services


  • The petitioners challenged the saving clause for the ongoing recruitment process under the 2010 Rules.
  • They argued that since the selection process started before the 2019 Procedure was implemented, it should continue under the 2010 Rules.
  • They also contested Clause 12.2 of the 2019 Procedure which allowed for the continuation of selection processes under the repealed 2010 Rules.
  • The petitioners pointed out ongoing selection processes for various posts that began before the 2019 Procedure came into effect.
  • Specifically, recruitment for Assistant Engineer (Civil) had started under the 2010 Rules with a screening test conducted in June 2019.
  • Ms. Rekha Pandey argues that the 2019 Procedure was adopted to bring more transparency in recruitment and address deficiencies in the 2010 Rules.
  • She asserts that the 2019 Procedure for the viva-voce segment would ensure weightage for merit and avoid arbitrary selection.
  • Ms. Rekha Pandey points out that Rules 29 and 30 of the 2010 Rules did not provide adequate weightage to test the merit of candidates based on their qualifications and experience.
  • She suggests that the 2019 Procedure should govern the next phase of selection as it introduces concepts like negative marking and limits on interview marks.

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  • Interviews, selections, or competitive examinations pending on the commencement date of the Procedures can be continued and completed based on the previous Rules.
  • Any proceeding concerning interviews, selections, or competitive examinations can proceed as per the Rules in force before the commencement of the Procedures.
  • Introduction of 2019 Procedure during selection process questioned
  • Precedents of applicability of new rules during ongoing selection process outlined
  • Candidates appeared in screening test under 2010 Rules which had no negative marking
  • If next segment of selection is under 2019 Procedure, candidate performance in screening test will largely determine final selection
  • Concern raised about fairness of candidate selection if performance heavily influenced by lucky guessing rather than merit
  • Norms existing at the start of selection process control the selection
  • Alteration to norms does not affect ongoing process unless new rules are retrospective
  • Candidates have limited right to be considered as per rules on date of advertisement
  • Amendment of rules during selection cannot deprive candidate of limited right
  • Current recruitment process advertised on 21.12.2018 governed by 2010 Rules, not 2019 Procedure
  • Savings Clause 12.2 in 2019 Procedure mandates completion of selection as per 2010 Rules if already pending
  • Conducting next segment of selection under 2019 Procedure after initial screening test under 2010 Rules would create prejudice
  • Recruitment process must be conducted under norms applicable on date of advertisement
  • Merit of candidates to be assessed under Rule 29 and Rule 30 of 2010 Rules by APSC in selection exercise
  • The APSC is capable of conducting a fair selection process while keeping in mind lawful expectations and the constitutional mandate.
  • For the ongoing recruitment process of 65 posts of Assistant Engineer (Civil) in the Water Resources Department, the selection should be finalized under the 2010 Rules.
  • The direction in the impugned judgment to apply the 2019 Procedure alongside the 2010 Rules for the selection process is not warranted and hence interfered with.

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  • The appeal has been allowed to permit the APSC to complete the selection process for the advertised posts.
  • The APSC is directed to follow the 2010 Rules while conducting the selection process.
  • This decision allows for a fair and transparent selection process for the advertised posts.


Case Number: C.A. No.-009100-009100 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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