Singh Vs. State of Haryana  INSC 403 (27 July 1994)
S.P. (J) Bharucha S.P. (J) Mohan, S. (J) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J)
1995 AIR 414 1994 SCC (5) 695 JT 1994 (5) 245 1994 SCALE (3)627
Judgment of the Court was delivered by BHARUCHA, J.- Special leave granted.
civil appeals are directed against the orders of various Division Benches of
the High Court of Punjab & Haryana, all of which found no ground to
interfere with the judgment of a learned Single Judge whereby the writ
petitions filed, inter alia by the present appellants, were dismissed. In
substance, therefore, it is the judgment and order of the learned Single Judge
which is under challenge.
Subordinate Services Selection Board (now called "the Board") issued
an advertisement inviting applications for the appointment of 40 Assistant Sub-
Inspectors of Police in the State of Haryana. Intending candidates were informed that they would have to appear in
two written examinations of 100 marks each and, if they obtained 50% or more
marks (40% or more for Scheduled Caste and Backward Class candidates), would be
called for a physical test and an interview. They were also informed that
successful candidates would have to qualify in three out of four tests, viz.,
two races and an high jump and a long jump. The advertisement specified 40
posts because at that point of time the State Government had made a requisition
upon the Board for 40 posts. On 1-2-1990 and 10-4-1990 there were supplemental
requisitions so that the total number of posts for which recommendations had to
be made by the Board became 98.
total of 3963 candidates were called to appear for the written examination held
on 19-2-1989 and 2169 appeared.
On 11-8-1989, the results of the written examinations were
declared; 537 candidates qualified and were called for the physical test. Of
these 206 qualified and were called to be interviewed. Interviews were held
between 25-8-1989 and 29- 8-1989, except for one candidate who was interviewed on 3-9- 1989.
5.On 27-10-1989, the Board resolved to destroy the answer-books of
the written examinations. The resolution read:
observe that the large number of answer books of the following posts has been
lying in the office for some time past unwontedly and lot of space has been
covered in this way.
Name of the post Department
----------------------------------------------------------- 1 . Taxation
Inspector Excise & Taxation
Police =========================================================== We are in
shortage of space as we have invited applications for various posts recently.
The space is badly needed for keeping these applications.
such the Board decides to destroy the answer-books of the abovesaid posts as
the result of the written examination in their cases have since been declared
on 15-9-1989 and 11-8- 1989 respectively. The
candidates could get their answer- book rechecked by paying fee of Rs 15 for
each paper within one month from the date of declaration of result of the
written examination of these posts, i.e., 14-10-1989 and 10- 9-1989, 699 respectively. As there is no space to keep such a
large number of answer books of candidates for these posts in the office, it
has become essential to dispose of/destroy them at once. As such the Board
after taking the decision as above has destroyed all the answer-books of the
candidates of abovesaid examination today, i.e. 27-12-1989.
Anand Singh Dangi Sukh Dev Singh Chairman 27-12-1989 Member 27-12-1989 Sd/- Sd/-
Bachha Ram Samey Singh Kamboj Member 27-12-1989 Member 27-12-1989 Sd/- Sd/- Nirpal
Malik Devi Dayal Member 27-12-1989 Member 27-12-1989" (emphasis supplied.)
29-1-1990, Respondent 3-A, Anand Singh Dangi, resigned as Chairman of the
Board. He was replaced on 6-4- 1990 by one Bani Singh. On the same day, i.e.,
6-4-1990, the results were declared by the Board. Thirtynine candidates were
then recommended for appointment to the State Government. On 11-4-1990, twelve
candidates were recommended. On 25-4-1990, one candidate was recommended.
15-6-1990, six candidates were recommended. On 31-7- 1990, one candidate was
recommended. On 17-6-1991, two candidates were recommended. On 14-11-1991, one
candidate was recommended.
Several unsuccessful candidates challenged the selection as aforesaid by filing
writ petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The learned Single Judge
recorded in his judgment that he "had sent for the marks sheets containing
the marks for the written test as well as for the interview. Learned counsel
for the respondents had produced the original marks sheets duly signed by
members of the Board". Having seen the marks sheets produced before him
the learned Judge came to the conclusion that the submission of learned counsel
for the writ petitioners that members of the Board had given more marks at the
interview to favorite candidates was not well founded. Had there been any such
effort, in his view, the members of the Board had every opportunity inasmuch as
the requisition was for 98 candidates whereas they had stopped short on
learned Judge dismissed the writ petitions. The Division Benches of the High
Court in appeals did not find any ground to interfere with his judgment.
an earlier stage of the hearing before this Court, namely, on 12-7-1993, an order was passed which stated that the
submissions made indicated that the problem to be resolved was much too serious
to be dealt with on adversarial contentions. There were very serious
allegations against the constitution, procedure and functioning of the Board.
In view of the glaring infirmities that were noticed, all respondents,
including those who 700 had been selected and appointed, were ordered to be
duly notified because it was possible that the court would decide that the
entire selection process was infirm and quash the selections. The Chief
Secretary of the State Government was directed to furnish, upon affidavit,
particulars regarding the constitution of the Board, the names and
qualifications of its members and to produce the record and minutes of the
learned Solicitor General appearing for the Board has produced what remains of
the Board's record pertaining to the impugned selection. The documents have
been taken on file and we shall have occasion to refer to some of them.
For the reasons which we now record, taken collectively, we are of the view
that the selection made by the Board as aforesaid and the appointments made by
the State Government pursuant thereto need to be quashed.
afore stated, the answer papers of the written examinations were destroyed even
before the results of the selection had been declared. The resolution which has
been quoted above states that the Board had decided to destroy the answer
papers as there was no space to keep them in the Board's office. There was a
shortage of space because invitations for applications for various posts had
been issued and space was badly needed for keeping the same. In reply to our
query, the learned Solicitor General fairly stated that there was no such
shortage of space. In any event, what is noteworthy about the resolution is its
last sentence, which we have emphasised. So great was the haste to destroy the
answer papers that the destruction was already complete when the resolution was
passed. The shortage of space could not have been so acutely felt so suddenly
and the explanation contained in the resolution does not explain or justify the
tearing hurry. The explanation is, therefore, suspect.
The answer papers having been destroyed, it becomes impossible to ascertain
what marks each candidate had secured from the examiners upon the answer papers
themselves. Ordinarily, the examiners would have themselves tabulated the marks
given by them against the serial numbers or names of the candidates whose
answer papers they had examined. No such tabulation has been produced by the
Board. There were four written papers. The Board would, in any event, have had
to tabulate the marks obtained by each candidate in each of the four papers and
aggregate the same for the purposes of ascertaining which of the candidates had
obtained the qualifying marks or more. No such tabulation has been produced by
the Board. The resolution of the Board authorising payment to the examiners
shows that there were 13 of them. There were four written papers. In each
subject, therefore, there were more than one examiner and the answer papers of
the candidates were distributed amongst them. Ordinarily, there would be a
moderation of the marks given by two or more examiners in the same subject so
as to ensure that one had not been too strict and other too lenient. No papers
in this behalf have been produced by the Board.
Much paper pertaining to the physical statistics of the candidates declared to
be successful at the written examination has been preserved by the Board and
it has been preserved but no other documentation is noteworthy; a candidate's
height would remain ascertainable so long as he was alive.
From the record produced by the Board it appears that very large sheets of
paper with the names of the candidates and their qualifications, etc., typed
thereon were placed before the members of the Board who interviewed them. Upon
these sheets of paper there are large blanks, in that no notation has been made
with regard to many candidates one after the other in serial order. Such
notations as there are in pencil and they do not always indicate how the
candidates had fared. Along with these very large sheets of paper there is a
small strip of paper relating to the only candidate who, for some reason, was
interviewed on 3-9-1989.
strip of paper shows the final assessment of the candidate at the interview.
There is no corresponding tabulation produced in respect of the candidates who
appeared on the earlier dates of interviews. In other words, there is no
tabulation of the final marks awarded to these candidates at the interview.
Produced before us by the Board is the document which the learned Solicitor
General stated, on instructions, had been produced before the learned Single
Judge which he referred to as "the original marks sheet duly signed by
members of the Board". It is a compilation of six sheets of foolscap
paper. At the bottom of each sheet the rubber stamp "Government of Haryana"
appears. The sheets set out in typescript against serial numbers the roll
numbers and names of the successful candidates and the marks secured by them at
the written examination and the interview and the total thereof. The sheets are
held together by a tag. The last serial number and the candidate's name and
particulars are typed a little above the middle of the last sheet. The last
sheet is signed by all the members of the Board but at its foot. In other words,
between the last typewritten entry on the last page and the signatures of the
members of the Board thereon there is a yawning blank of about seven inches. It
is reasonable to expect that, had the members of the Board signed this marks
list after they had selected the last candidate, they would have signed it
immediately below the serial number, roll number, name and particulars of that
candidate. The fact that they did not do so but signed at the foot of the sheet
concerned leaving a vast gap itself suggests that they intended to leave room
for the addition of names to the list. This, taken together with the fact that
the Board recommended to the State Government thirty- nine candidates on
6-4-1990, twelve candidates on 11-4-1990, one candidate on 25-4-1990, six
candidates on 15-6-1990, one candidate on 31-7-1990, two candidates on
17-6-1991 and one candidate on 14-11-1991 leaves us in no doubt that this marks
list has been, and was intended to be, manipulated by the addition of names
thereto as and when some event took place. It does not require much imagination
to guess what that event was.
have mentioned that there was one candidate who was interviewed singly on 3-9-1989 and that the strip of paper showing the final marks
secured by him at the interview has been produced. That sheet shows that the
candidate had secured 20 marks at the interview but the marks sheet referred to
above shows that candidate had secured eighteen and a half marks at the
For all these reasons, taken together, we are satisfied that the selection made
by the Board was not objective and fair and must be quashed along with the
appointments made by the State Government consequent thereto.
Learned counsel for some of the selected candidates, fairly, did not address
themselves to the pleadings when it was pointed out that this Court had already
taken the view that this was a matter which involved the public interest and
could not be treated as purely adversarial. However, they drew attention to
this Court's judgment in Krishan Yadav v. State of Haryana1, where the selections made by this
very Board of Taxation Inspectors and the appointments made consequent thereon
had been quashed after an enquiry had been conducted by the Central Bureau of
Investigation and the report thereon perused. It was submitted that in this
case also an enquiry by the CBI should be ordered and the report thereof
awaited for there might be other documents which the Board had not produced. It
was also submitted by a learned counsel that the marks sheet produced by the
Board before us could not have been the marks sheet produced by it before the
learned Single Judge in the High Court because, had it been produced before
him, the learned Judge would have immediately been struck by the yawning gap
between the last typewritten entry and the signatures of the members of the
Board thereon. It was submitted that the members of the Board as presently
constituted had been appointed by politicians inimical to the politicians who
had appointed the Board as it was constituted at the relevant time and that the
former were interested in maligning the latter so that the documents they
produced could not be relied upon. In the first place, it is hardly conceivable
that the members of the Board as then constituted would oblige the members of
the Board as presently constituted by appending their signatures to a document
in such a manner as would make the document immediately suspect. In the second
place, the learned Single Judge accepted, which we do not, the reason for the
destruction of the answer papers.
is in the public interest that members of the police force should be selected
objectively and fairly. The factors that we have enumerated above satisfy us
that the selection made by the Board was not objective and fair. It is,
therefore, in the public interest that the selections and the appointments made
consequent thereon be quashed forthwith.
appreciate that it may be that there are among those selected some who deserved
selection and who will, consequently, suffer as a result 1 (1994) 4 SCC 165 :
1994 SCC (L&S) 937 : (1994) 27 ATC 547: JT (1994) 4 SC 45 703 of this
order. There is, regrettably, considering the state of the selection records,
no way in which such men can be identified. The public interest outweighs their
directions that we shall now give shall enable them to compete once again with
those who had sought selection with little or no disadvantage as a result of
the years that have passed.
The appeals are allowed. The orders of the Division Benches under appeal and
the judgment and order of the learned Single Judge dismissing the writ
petitions are set aside. The writ petitions are made absolute in the following
terms: The selections made by the Board of Sub- Inspectors of Police consequent
upon the advertisement dated 21-1-1988, as
also the appointments made by the State of Haryana pursuant thereto are quashed.
fresh selection shall be made by the Board for the 98 posts of SubInspectors of
Police for which the Board had at the relevant time received requisitions from
the State Government. All candidates who had applied pursuant to the
advertisement dated 21-1-1988, and who were found eligible shall
be entitled to appear for the written examinations, the total marks whereof
shall be 200. Those who are successful shall then appear for a physical test.
Having regard to the fact that the candidates are now around the age of 30, the
Inspector General of Police of the State of Haryana or an officer of equivalent
rank shall, having regard to this age, prescribe appropriate physical
requirements. Those candidates who are found to possess these physical
requirements shall be called for interview, the marks whereof shall be 25.
Candidates who are successful at the interview shall be required to submit to
physical tests, namely, two races and two jumps, the particulars of which shall
also be prescribed by the Inspector General of Police or equivalent authority
having regard to the age aforesaid.
The Board is directed to preserve the answer papers of the candidates and the
tabulations of marks made by the examiners for at least three months after the
declaration of the results of the selection. All records of the Board itself
pertaining to the selection shall be maintained in files or registers
chronologically and these shall also be preserved for the aforesaid period.
The advertisement announcing the fresh examinations shall state that all
candidates who had applied in response to the advertisement dated 21-1-1988,
and who had been found qualified shall be entitled to appear. The advertisement
shall be issued on or before 1-9-1994. The advertisement shall state that those
from among the aforesaid candidates who intend to appear at the written
examination shall so intimate to the Board on or before 15-9-1994. The written
examination shall be held on and from 1-10-1994. The evaluation of the marks
obtained thereat shall be completed on or before 15-11-1994 and the marks
obtained shall be published in three prominent daily newspapers having a large
circulation in the State of Haryana, in addition to being displayed on the
Board's notice board. Candidates shall be called for physical test on or before
5-12-1994. Candidates who qualify thereat shall be called for interview on or
before 31-12-1994. The results of 704 the final selection shall be published on
or before 15-1- 1995 in the three daily newspapers aforementioned and also
displayed on the Board's notice board.
The Board and the State of Haryana are required to ensure that the selection is
conducted fairly, objectively and transparently. No member of the Board as then
constituted shall be permitted to have anything to do with the selection now
The Board shall pay to each of the appellants costs quantified at Rs 5000.