L.S. Jamir, J. -
(1.) Heard Ms. B. Bhuyan, learned counsel for the petitioners. Also heard Mr. C. Baruah, learned Standing Counsel, APSC appearing for the respondent Nos. 1 to 5 Dr. B. Ahmed, learned Standing Counsel, Industries and Commerce Department appearing for the respondent Nos. 6 and 7, Mr. D. Das, learned senior counsel assisted by Mr. P.N. Goswami, learned counsel appearing for the respondent Nos. 14, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 28, 33, 38, 39 and 40, Mr. S.K. Talukdar, learned counsel appearing for the respondent Nos. 8, 12, 13, 15, 17, 27, 32 and 41 and Mr. S. Choudhury, learned counsel appearing for the respondent Nos. 10, 11, 18, 20, 25, 30, 35, 36 and 37.
(2.) Ms. B. Bhuyan, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) published an advertisement dated 11-08-2016 inviting application from Indian citizens for recruitment to various posts under different Departments of Assam. Amongst the posts advertised, 34 posts of Assistant Manager/Superintendent of Industries/Assistant Industries Officer etc under the Industries & Commerce Department, Assam were also advertised. The required educational qualification for the said posts was a Bachelor's Degree in any Branch of Engineering or in Arts/Science/Commerce of a University or any other institution in India or abroad recognized by the Government for the purpose with minimum Second Class in any specified subject or distinction in Degree course. Pursuant to the advertisement, the petitioners also applied for the said posts. Clause C of the advertisement dated 11-08-2016 provides that if the number of applications received is large, the Commission may short-list the number of candidates either on the basis of their marks obtained in the qualifying academic examination required for the post in terms of the advertisement or by holding Screening Test (Multiple choice objective type written examination) which will be notified in due course. By a Notification dated 17-11-2017, the APSC informed for holding of Multiple Choice Objective Type Screening Test (OMR) for the post of Assistant Manager/Superintendent of Industries/Assistant Industries Officer under the Industries & Commerce Department and the date of Screening Test was notified as 26-11-2017. The petitioners were called for the OMR based Objective Type Screening Test by letter dated 17-11-2017 for the subject of General Studies and the marks allotted was 200. Both the petitioners appeared for the Screening Test on 26-11-2017. Thereafter, based on the qualifying marks, 145 candidates were short-listed for appearing Viva-Voce/interview. It is submitted that the petitioners were called to appear in the Viva-Voce test by call letter dated 19-01-2018 to be held on 14-02-2018. The petitioners accordingly appeared in the Viva-Voce and they did well in the interview and were looking forward for a positive result. The APSC declared the result for the post of Assistant Manager/Superintendent of Industries/Assistant Industries Officer under the Industries & Commerce, Department on 16-02-2018 wherein, the names of the petitioners did not appear.
(3.) Learned counsel for the petitioners submits that not being satisfied with the result declared on 16-02-2018, the petitioner No. 1 made an RTI Application on 17-02- 2018 and 19-02-2018 seeking information with regard to the total marks obtained by each candidate, copy of the Government/APSC Rules/Order on the assessment criteria used in the selection process, pattern of awarding of marks and relevant details of each candidate appearing in the viva-voce test. The said inquiry made by the petitioner No.1 was furnished by a communication dated 09-03-2018 wherein, the petitioner came to learn that the break-up of marks allotted to them were in sheer deviation from the norms of the advertisement dated 11-08-2016 inasmuch as, it is specifically provided in the advertisement dated 11-08-2016 that there will be either written test or interview and that if the APSC receives large number of applications, the Commission may short-list the number of candidates either on the basis of their marks obtained in the qualifying academic examination required for the post in terms of the advertisement or by holding screening test.;