The Punjab and Haryana High Court has imposed a seven-day deadline on the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) to publish the results of candidates who participated in the recent main examination for Haryana Civil Services (HCS-executive branch) and other related services.
The preliminary examination for this highly competitive and coveted government job took place on May 21, followed by the main examination held on August 12-13, with results announced on September 25. Out of the 106 advertised vacancies, only 61 candidates qualified for the main examination and were subsequently called for interviews, commencing on October 9. All 61 candidates were officially selected on October 11, and the HPSC has now assigned cadres based on their Order of Merit.
A substantial number of unsuccessful candidates filed petitions with the high court upon the announcement of the main examination results. One of their key contentions was the lack of disclosure of subject-wise marks for those who did not pass the main examination.
In an order issued on October 18, a division bench comprising Justice Deepak Sibal and Justice Sukhvinder Kaur granted the HPSC one final opportunity to file a written statement and directed them to upload the results, including candidate details, within a week.
According to the petition, HPSC rules stipulate that a candidate must achieve a minimum of 45% marks in the aggregate of all written papers and score at least 33% marks in Hindi and English to be eligible for the viva voce test.
The petitioners argue that the 45% marks qualification criterion for the interview is “arbitrary and harsh” and lacks any form of moderation, even though the written examination covered 29 different subjects. Moderation or scaling of marks is commonly used to standardize scores across diverse subjects and examiners.
The petition further highlights that the UPSC utilizes moderation/scaling for the Indian Administrative Service examination, conducted for appointment to the civil service. In contrast, the HPSC did not employ this practice, resulting in an uneven playing field for candidates with different optional subjects.
The petitioners have also requested a reduction in minimum qualifying marks for candidates from reserved categories and have urged the award of grace marks through moderation/scaling for the main written examination conducted in various subjects.
The selection and appointment to the HCS (executive branch) and allied services follow the Haryana Civil Service Executive Branch Rules of 2008.
Additionally, the petition notes that the HPSC did not release category-wise results; instead, the results were declared jointly for the general category and all other reserved categories, including scheduled castes (SC), backward classes (A-B) of Haryana, economically weaker sections (EWS), and ex-servicemen of Haryana.
The petitioners contend that individuals from reserved categories are entitled to lower minimum marks compared to the general category. They argue that the Constitution mandates the state to prescribe minimum qualifying marks for reserved category candidates that are lower than those set for general candidates. The case is scheduled for a resumed hearing on November 16.