In a major development in the paper leak scam of the Haryana subordinate judiciary, Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday scrapped the Haryana Civil Services (Judicial) preliminary examination held in July this year. In an inquiry report, a high court committee had earlier recommended that preliminary examination should be scrapped after it was found that some of the candidates had access to the preliminary paper prior to the examination.
The committee has also recommended registration of an FIR against the HC Registrar Recruitment Dr Balwinder Sharma, who is a Punjab cadre judicial officer, and the two candidates in question who had access to the paper. The high court committee further recommended disciplinary action against Sharma and his forthwith transfer from the current posting.
“In view of the prima facie finding that at least two candidates namely Ms. Sunita and Sushila had the question papers and therefore the possibility that other candidates may have also had access to the question paper cannot be ruled out; in such circumstances, purity of the examination having been lost…,” it has said in the inquiry report.
The HC committee has found that Sharma was in contact with the topper candidate from past one year and had exchanged 760 calls and messages with the person who had access to the question paper before the examination.
“Keeping in view the finding that Dr. Balwinder Sharma, Registrar (Recruitment) unequivocally stated that he had no prior acquaintance with Ms. Sunita (the topper in general category), while the call details given by the service provider reveal that there were a total of 760 calls and SMSs exchanged between Dr. Balwinder Sharma and Ms. Sunita during the last one year, indicate that the matter requires a deeper probe,” the HC committee has said, while recommending regular inquiry against the Court official.
The paper leakage had been exposed by a Panchkula resident Suman last month who had moved the high court seeking an inquiry into the paper leak case. In the petition filed through advocate Manjeet Singh, Suman has claimed she was contacted by Sushila and Sunita with an offer that they have got the examination paper and will provide it to her if she paid an amount of Rs 1 crore, and a day before the exam at least two questions were disclosed to her.
The candidates had been later found to have topped the general and reserved categories with ‘exceptionally high marks and minimum marks’. A full bench of the high court comprising Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice G S Sandhawala opened the inquiry report in an open court on Wednesday and told the Registrar (Vigilance) to direct the telecommunication companies to preserve the call details, message exchanged and the data related to the case for a period of one year.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday had declined to hear a transfer petition of the case while asking the petitioner to avail her remedy at the high court first. The petition was later withdrawn by Suman. The case was first being heard by the single bench of Justice Kuldip Singh, and on August 29 was transferred to the full bench on orders from the then Acting Chief Justice S S Saron.