With the Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC) set to conduct the Manipur Civil Service combined competitive Exam 22 (Preliminary) after six years on April 30, 2023, the Manipur HC on Friday directed the commission to make the supervisors sign on the left margin of the OMR sheet, irrespective of whether space is provided or not for such signature.
Earlier, candidates had expressed doubts for a clean and fair recruitment with some candidates approaching the HC, challenging a notification of the MPSC inviting application for the Manipur Public Services Combined Competitive preliminary examination, 2022 under the Manipur Public Services Combined Competitive Examination, 2022.
It was for selection to the main examination for recruitment to 100 numbers of vacancies for appointment to Manipur Civil Service Grade II, Manipur Police Service Grade II, Manipur Finance Service Grade III, Sub-Deputy Collector and Manipur Secretariat Service Category VI.
The candidates stated that the MPSC is going to conduct the examination with the same MPSC Examination Rules 2011 which has not been modified in accordance with the direction passed by the HC in 2019.
In the petitions, the candidates pointed out lacuna in Rule 26 (A) of the Manipur Public Service Commission (Procedure & Conduct of Business) Rules, 2011 as amended on 22.06.2017, 04.06.2020, 14.06.2020 and 07.09.2020. Rule 26 (A) prescribes procedures to be followed for conducting examination, evaluation of answer scripts and interview. It is stated that the recently concluded re-examination of MCSCCE Main Examination, 2016 (held in 2022) was conducted by MPSC under the Examination Rules, 2011 and several lapses, irregularities and illegalities have arisen. If examination is to be conducted under the same Rules, 2011 such illegalities, irregularities and manipulation would likely occur, the candidates stated.
Counsel of the petitioners pointed out before the court that in the OMR Sheet used by the Manipur Public Service Commission, there is no space for signature of the Supervisor of the examination and as such, there is scope for manipulation.
The HC stated that petitions have been filed on mere presumptions, assumptions and conjectures that irregularities, illegalities, fabrication, etc. would likely to happen in the proposed MCSCCE, 2022, as occurred in the Main Examination 2016.
Validity of Rules 2011 has already been settled by the judgment and order of 2022 by the HC, stated the HC and added that as the order is not challenged, the finding attains finality.
It should be mentioned that the Single Judge has discussed Rule 26 (A) of the MPSC (Procedure and Conduct of Business) Rules, 2011 and held that the Rule has been amended and the grievances of the petitioners stand redressed.
On a reading of the amended provisions, specifically Rule 26(A) of the Rules of 2011, it is clear that the provision deals with the procedure to be followed for conducting the examination, evaluation and interview, stated the HC.
The HC opined that the authorities are to follow the procedure as laid down in the Rules of 2011 while conducting the competitive examination. Further, the High Court is also of the view that the Controller of Examinations has been appointed and the grievance of the petitioners stands redressed.
“There is no dispute that now a responsible officer is holding the charge of Controller of Examinations, MPSC. That apart, in view of the amendments made in the Rules of 2011, the petitioners have no right to challenge the impugned advertisement”, stated the HC.
The writ petitions are devoid of merits, as the same are based on presumptions, the court said, adding that the issues raised have already been settled in the judgment and order of 2022 by the Single Judge bench of the HC and have been filed after rejecting the application for amendment and settled by the HC. Stating thus, the HC dismissed the writ petitions.