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The Supreme Court has said that parameters of appointment are like a ‘Lakshman Rekha’ which cannot not be breached and both the selection committee and the appointing authority have to follow them strictly.

“Somewhere a line has to be drawn and that line has to be strictly observed which is like ‘Lakshman Rekha’ and no variation of the same is possible unless it is provided in the rules,” said the apex court bench of Justice Mukundakam Sharma and Justice Anil R. Dave in a judgment.

The court said this earlier this week while dismissing an appeal by Bhanu Pratap who contended that 49.8 percent aggregate marks obtained by him in written and interview examination “could and should” have been rounded off to 50 percent in aggregate which would have entitled him to subordinate judge’s job in Haryana.

Speaking for the bench, Justice Sharma said: “Both the selection committee and appointing authority are bound to act within the parameters of rules which are statutory in nature and any violation or relaxation thereof by way of giving grace marks or rounding off would be acting beyond the parameters prescribed which would be illegal.”

Any recourse to give grace marks or rounding off the aggregate marks would render the recruitment and appointment rules meaningless. “In that event, there would be no meaning of having a rule wherein it is provided that a person must at least have the minimum marks as provided for thereunder.”

The judgment said that if rounding off, as sought by Bhanu Pratrap, was also extended in the case of other candidates, then some candidates, who could not reach the viva-voce stage because they missed 33 percent marks in one of the papers by a whisker, too would have qualified for viva-voce.

Bhanu Pratap appeared for Haryana Civil Services (judicial branch) examination in 2003. Out of the 3,417 candidates, only three could succeed in getting 50 percent marks making then eligible for viva-voce test.

After the viva-voce, other two candidates succeeded in getting more than the aggregate marks of 50 percent both in written and viva-voce but Bhanu Pratap got 49.8 percent marks and was not considered for appointment as a subordinate judge.

Bhanu Pratap moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court which dismissed his plea. He later appealed in the apex court which said that there was no merit in his appeal

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