Re-evaluation of Answer Sheets – Seniority Determination

…Appellant(s) Versus High Court of Delhi & Ors….Appellant(s) Versus High Court of Delhi through Registrar General & Ors.

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Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned common judgment(s) and order(s) passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Writ Petition (C) Nos. The Selection Committee rejected the representations observing that there was no provision for rechecking / re-evaluation of the answer sheets in the Delhi High Court (Appointment and Condition of Service) Rules, 1972.

Shitu Nagpal filed representations in the month of February, 2017, seeking re-evaluation of their answer sheets. By order dated 17.05.2017, the Delhi High Court directed the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court to take an independent decision of reappraisal with respect to the evaluation / marks. The High Court disposed of the writ petitions noting that re-evaluation of the answer sheets has been concluded and it was observed that it would be appropriate for the Special Committee to consider the report of the re-evaluation and recommend the further course of action and, thereafter, the result be notified. That thereafter on 01.03.2018, the Acting Chief Justice took a decision that those candidates, whose marks have been increased and their marks are found to be higher than the candidates already appointed, they may be appointed against the vacant 22 vacancies of private secretaries without disturbing those 27 candidates already appointed. Therefore, the Acting Chief Justice took a decision that 08 candidates whose marks have been increased on re-evaluation and are found to be having more marks than the candidates already appointed, they may be appointed against 22 vacancies vacant as those 08 candidates would stand qualified upon re-evaluation. 9

That thereafter the respondent – original writ petitioner – Dinesh Kumar moved a representation seeking re-evaluation on 25.05.2018, i.e., after a period of 15 months from the date of obtaining the copy of answer sheet on 20.02.2017. However, thereafter on the representations made by the appellants and the other candidates, who were dissatisfied by the denial of seniority as per the increased marks, in the meeting dated 01.10.2018, the Special Committee decided to accord notional seniority in accordance with revised marks to the candidates. That thereafter, the respondent herein – the original writ petitioner – Dinesh Kumar aggrieved by the issuance of the revised merit list filed the Writ Petition (C) No 949 of 2019 before the High Court. Respondent –

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Dinesh Kumar also filed Writ Petition (C) No 10668 of 2022 aggrieved by the revised merit list of 17.12.2021. 1

It is submitted that on merit list being revised due to change in the marking on re-evaluation, earlier the Special Committee rightly took a decision to give the seniority to the appellants as per the marks obtained. It is submitted that the re-evaluation was closed vide order dated 30.08.2017, the respondents consciously opted to not initiate any action either to challenge the orders or to seek re-evaluation, despite having knowledge as the said exercise being undertaken and the results thereof were furnished to them on 12.09.2017. 4

It is further submitted that the High Court in paragraph 68 of the impugned order has expressly upheld the appointment of the appellants from 30.01.2017 which was not challenged by the respondents herein. It is submitted that appellants, though no fault of their own, as a result of wrong marking were deprived of their position in select list dated 30.01.2017 and on the correction of the marking ought to have been given the benefit of notional seniority i.e., inter se seniority on the basis of merit. It is submitted that if there was no intention to grant inter se seniority based on marks, there would have been no reason to admit the 5 already selected candidates to the process of re-evaluation rendering the entire exercise redundant. The issue which requires consideration is the issue of how the seniority of these persons is to be fixed and whether any re-fixation is necessary.” It is submitted that the consideration of the Acting Chief Justice was, thus, that in the event the vacancies were not there, the re-evaluation may have the result of disturbing the appointments of certain private secretaries already made, whose marks are now lower than those of the appellants. 13

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It is submitted that as findings of the High Court upholding the re-evaluation has not been assailed, the consequences of re-evaluation ought to be taken to the logical end i.e., grant of inter se seniority to appellants based on merit viz-a-viz other candidates. 2886/2023 – 5 appellants, who as such were already appointed in the first select list dated 30.01.2017 but who applied for re-evaluation as such made the same submissions which are made by Shri C.U. It is submitted by learned Senior Advocates appearing on behalf of the respective respondents that it will be highly inequitable and grossly unjust, apart from being ex-facie illegal, to sustain revision of merit list to the detriment of the respondents due to following reasons: – 5.1 Respondents never got an opportunity for re- evaluation of their answer-sheets as has been given to the appellants herein.

Case Title: SUNIL Vs. HIGH COURT OF DELHI (2023 INSC 459)

Case Number: C.A. No.-002883-002885 / 2023

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