HC gives right answer,orders re-look at judicial services exam papers

Answering objective-type questions is not what one would usually expect the Delhi High Court to do.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: April 10, 2012 3:53 am

Answering objective-type questions is not what one would usually expect the Delhi High Court to do. However,on Monday it provided “correct” answers for 26 questions of the 2011 Delhi Judicial Services (DJS) examination. The right answers to these questions are going to decide the fate of several candidates aspiring to be engaged as judicial officers in Delhi’s courts.

Deciding a bunch of petitions that had disputed the answers,as per the answer key,of many questions asked in the exam,a bench of Justices B D Ahmed and V K Jain ordered a fresh evaluation.

After scrutinising the contentious questions out of the total 200 asked,the bench directed the removal of 12,and correction of the answers of 7 others while evaluating afresh the answer sheets of around 7,000 candidates.

The bench,however,decided not to disturb the list of 276 candidates already declared successful in the preliminary exam and declared eligible to sit for the main exam. These candidates will remain in the fray while the Delhi High Court issues another list of eligible candidates in two weeks.

“In this manner,all persons who could legitimately claim to be in the top 230 (in general category) would be included and all those,who were earlier declared as having qualified,would also retain their status. Although the final number of qualified candidates may exceed the figure of 230,this is the only way,according to us,to harmonize the rules with the competing claims of the candidates in a just and fair manner. A similar exercise would also have to be conducted in respect of each of the reserved categories,” the court said while addressing the issue raised by advocate Akhilesh Arora,who represented one of the petitioners.

The High Court had in September 2011 announced 50 vacancies — 23 in general category,15 SC,6 ST,and 6 in the physically handicapped category — in the DJS. The preliminary exam was held on December 18 and,by a notice issued four days later,276 candidates were shortlisted for the mains.

Under the rules,the number of candidates cleared for the written mains must not exceed 10 times the vacancies under each category. This condition,the bench noted,had to be waived because the question paper was “not free from faults” and,“therefore,it would be unfair to shut out such candidates on this basis”.

The judges asked the high court to be more careful while framing questions for multiple-choice exams. “The questions must be clear and provide all the necessary information leading to the appropriate answer. Questions which have doubtful or debatable answers should be excluded,” the bench said,adding that questions that could consume a lot of time are best left for the essay-type examination.

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