Biswanath Somadder,J. -
(1.) This writ appeal arises in respect of a judgment and order dated 27th January, 2021, passed by a learned Single Judge in WP (C) No.510 of 2018 (Ms. Dahunshisha Rynjah & Ors v. Meghalaya State Public Service Commission & Ors).
(2.) By the impugned judgment and order, the learned Single Judge proceeded to dismiss the writ petition for reasons stated therein, relevant portion whereof is quoted hereinbelow:-
'26. By the application of the settled law as it pertains to the instant case, the scope of taking effective cognizance of the subsequent facts is severely limited, more so, taking into account the fact that the challenge as it stood in the petition, i.e. to the preliminary results and the changed modality having been answered by the Division Bench of this Court, and upheld by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, these points, are therefore not open for re-appreciation at this juncture. Without doubt, the subsequent points raised such as (i) there was no official notification that the respondents had decided to amend the method of selection whereby they introduced minimum qualifying marks of 35% in Paper-II and that the aggregate marks secured in Paper-I and Paper-II would be calculated and considered for the purpose of cutoff marks. (ii) 156 (One Hundred Fifty-Six) candidates whose total marks after tabulation of Paper-I and Paper-II, were less than the marks obtained by some of the writ petitioners, were permitted to sit for the Main Examinations held on 18.01.2020. (iii) though the advertisement had proclaimed that the reservation of vacancies would be as per Government Policy, separate cutoff marks to qualify for the Main Examinations for different categories was applied by the respondents, are germane and vital in the larger perspective which governs the conduct of such selection processes, and beg for answers, but these issues cannot however, be taken cognizance of, and adjudicated upon in the present proceedings, as they were not part of the original pleadings or brought by amendment by adoption of proper procedure, but had been brought on record by way of an additional affidavit.
27. With regard to the contention of the respondents that the writ petition is not maintainable as the writ petitioners have not impleaded the successful candidates as party respondents, it is observed however, that as the criteria adopted for qualification for the Main exams has been challenged in its entirety, i.e. the selection process, this question will have to be examined on the facts as they stand, as to whether the non-impleadment of all the successful candidates, will violate the principles of Natural Justice, but as the instant matter is not being entertained or adjudicated fully in these proceedings, this question is left open.
28. The other point raised that that once having taking part in the selection process and having failed to qualify one cannot turn around and challenge the same, in the opinion of this court, this cannot be a ground to disable the writ petition, inasmuch as, it can be taken that the cause of action had not arisen earlier, but when the Preliminary results were declared, leading to the grievance of the petitioners as to the procedure adopted for qualification by the respondents.
29. For the reasons afore stated as nothing remains for further consideration by this Court, the instant writ petition is disposed of accordingly.
30. No order as to costs.'
From the facts of the case which are on record, it appears that the appellants before us (being the writ petitioners) had participated in the Meghalaya Civil Services, Junior Grade, a competitive examination, but were unsuccessful. They approached the writ Court challenging, inter alia, a notification dated 5th October, 2018, whereby 576 candidates were declared to be qualified to sit for the main examination and also to call for the records of all the 576 selected candidates who were successful in the preliminary examination and for a direction upon the Meghalaya Public Service Commission (for short 'MPSC') to prepare fresh selection list by adhering to the examination plan and to declare the notice dated 22nd October, 2018, as illegal and arbitrary.
After the writ petition was filed, the learned Single Judge passed an order dated 4th December, 2019, in a miscellaneous application, whereby the Court directed the concerned respondent authorities to keep the notification dated 16th August, 2019 ' whereby the main examination of the Meghalaya Civil Services, Junior Grade, had been publicised to be held in the month of January, 2020 ' to be kept in abeyance. This interim order dated 4th December, 2019 was carried in appeal before a Division Bench of this Court. The Division Bench, by an order dated 10th December, 2019, was pleased to set aside the interim order dated 4th December, 2019, and allowed for the main examination to be conducted (which was to take place on 18th January, 2020) while holding that the same would remain subject to the outcome of the writ petition.
The order of the Division Bench dated 10th December, 2019 was assailed before the Hon'ble Supreme Court by the appellants herein. The Hon'ble Supreme Court, by an order dated 9th January, 2020, dismissed the Special Leave Petition as it saw no reason to interfere with the judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of this Court dated 10th December, 2019. However, the High Court was requested to dispose of the writ petition as expeditiously as possible.
Consequently, the matter was taken up for final disposal by the learned Single Judge and the learned Single Judge proceeded to dismiss the writ petition on 27th January, 2021, in the manner as stated hereinabove.
According to the learned advocate for the appellants, no one is permitted to change the rules of the game once the game has commenced. In this regard, he has drawn our attention to the notice dated 22nd October, 2018, issued by the Controller of Examination of MPSC. According to the learned advocate for the appellants, this notice was never published or made known to the appellants/writ petitioners before they participated in the preliminary examination.
As observed earlier, the records reveal that after the initial interim order was passed on 4th December, 2019 by the learned Single Judge, the matter was carried in appeal before a Division Bench of this Court. The Division Bench, in its order dated 10th December, 2019, specifically took into consideration the notice dated 22nd October, 2018. Paragraph 6 of the judgment and order of the Division Bench dated 10th December, 2019 (which was later upheld by the Hon'ble Supreme Court by its order dated 9th January, 2020) is relevant in this context and is quoted hereinbelow:-
'6. It is argued that the MPSC on receiving certain representations has again clarified this position in its meeting held on 25.06.2018 and thereafter notified so for information to all concerned on 22.10.2018. It is also argued that the respondents having appeared in the preliminary examination without any objection and murmur knowing fully the provisions contained in Section II of the Plan of Examination and Syllabi and having failed in the preliminary examination are esttoped by principle of equitable esstoppel from challenging these provisions. Learned counsel further argued that the learned Single Judge while considering the scheme of the main examination wrongly applied the same for the purpose of preparing merit list of preliminary examination. Learned counsel for the appellant also argued that 576 candidates were declared pass in the preliminary examination to be eligible to appear in the main examination but none of them was arrayed as party respondents in the writ petition, which was liable to be discussed on the ground of non-joinder of necessary party alone.'
Thereafter, the Division Bench of this Court proceeded to observe as follows in paragraph 8:-
'8. Considering the fact that the writ petition is still pending before the learned Single Judge, we shall not make elaborate discussion on the merits of the matter except observing that a conjoint reading of Part A of Section II of the Plan of Examination for preliminary examination and the syllabi for preliminary examination contained in Section III, specifically what is indicated at Note III thereunder, which was notified in advance for information of the candidates who were advised vide advertisement dated 24.07.2017 to visit the website of the MPSC for downloading the syllabus, we are not persuaded to countenance the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the respondents-writ petitioners and not persuaded to hold that the respondents-writ petitioners were able to prove prima facie case, as held by the learned Single Judge in the impugned order.'
Finally, the Division Bench proceeded to set aside the impugned interim order dated 4th December, 2019, by directing that the result of the examination of the Meghalaya Civil Services, which was scheduled to take place on 18th January, 2020, shall remain subject to the outcome of the writ petition.
At the time of hearing, we have been informed that the result of the Meghalaya Civil Services, Junior Grade, has been declared on 11th February, 2021, i.e., after final dismissal of the writ petition by the learned Single Judge in terms of the impugned judgment and order dated 27th January, 2021, wherefrom the instant appeal emanates.
Undoubtedly, the singularly important uncontroverted fact is that the appellants are unsuccessful participants in a competitive examination. The question as to whether the rules of the game were changed after the game had begun has been considered implicitly by the earlier Division Bench of this Court in the judgment and order dated 10th December, 2019, when it had elaborately discussed not only the notice dated 22nd October, 2018, but also the resolution adopted in the meeting held on 25th June, 2018, being the primary subject-matter of challenge before the writ Court. A plain reading of paragraphs 6 and 8 of the judgment and order dated 10th December, 2019 (quoted earlier), would make this aspect of the matter clear. That apart, if one reads the notice dated 22nd October, 2018, minutely, it will clearly reveal therefrom that the notice was actually the outcome of a representation of the writ petitioners/appellants made by them on that very day. For convenience, the notice dated 22nd October, 2018, is reproduced hereinbelow:-
Consequent to the receipt of a certain representation dated 22nd October, 2018 in connection with the Preliminary Examination to the post of Meghalaya Civil Services, Junior Grade conducted by the Meghalaya Public Service Commission on behalf of the State Government vide Advertisement No. MPSC/ADVT-38/2017-2018/21 dated 24th July, 2017, it is hereby informed that the MPSC being an autonomous body had decided in a meeting of the Commission chaired by the Hon'ble Chairman on the 25th June, 2018 that both Paper I and Paper II of the said examination mentioned above be made compulsory as was indicated in the syllabus in Section II (A) that 'The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each', and had further decided on a certain method of evaluation whereby beside securing a minimum qualifying mark of 35% in Paper II, the aggregate marks secured in Paper I and Paper II would be calculated and considered for the purpose of the cut off marks and declaration of the final results.'
It is quite well settled by several pronouncements of the Hon'ble Supreme Court as well as various High Courts that unsuccessful participants of any public examination, cannot, after their participation in the examination process, turn around to challenge the method of selection and procedure adopted by the authority conducting the examination. Since the authoritative pronouncements based on this principle have been considered by the learned Single Judge ' in order to avoid prolixity ' we do not propose to discuss those judgments which hold the field, once again.
That apart and in any event, in an Intra-Court Mandamus appeal, interference is usually warranted only if palpable infirmities or perversities are noticed on a plain reading of the impugned judgment and order. In the facts of the instant case, on a plain reading of the impugned judgment and order, we do not notice any such palpable infirmity or perversity. The impugned judgment and order is supported with cogent and justifiable reasons.
For reasons stated above, we do not find any merit in the instant appeal and the same is liable to be dismissed and stands dismissed accordingly.
In view of the dismissal of the main appeal, miscellaneous application, being MC (WA) No.2 of 2021, stands disposed of accordingly. ;