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Himachal court summons public service commission chief

The Himachal Pradesh High Court has summoned the chairman of the state public service commission to appear before it with particulars of the selection committee that did not choose a visually impaired candidate for the post of a lecturer.

 Putting the selection process of the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (HPPSC) under the scanner, a division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol Tuesday directed Maj. Gen. (retd) C.M. Sharma to furnish the qualification, experience and service particulars of the members and the head of the selection committee.

 The court order on the appeal of visually challenged Shyam Lal was received Wednesday. The next date of hearing is Sep 19.

 The HPPSC chairman was also asked to file an affidavit on whether the selection committee had fixed any guidelines/parameters to assess the merit of the candidates — if so, what were the parameters.

 It directed him to state how many vacancies needed to be filled in various categories from amongst physically challenged candidates and what steps had been taken in this regard.

 Shyam Lal had applied for the post of a college lecturer advertised by the HPPSC in 2008.

 Of the five posts advertised, three were reserved for the visually challenged. Two candidates — Shyam Lal and a physically challenged candidate — applied for the posts under the reserved category.

 The candidature of the physically challenged was considered and he was interviewed though no post was reserved for his category.

 When the HPPSC realised its mistake, the entire selection process was cancelled, according to the petition.

Shyam Lal moved the high court against the decision. The court ordered the HPPSC to finalise the selection as per the process already commenced and interviews already held.

 However, the HPPSC declared that Shyam Lal had got less marks than prescribed.

In its earlier orders, the high court had said it was shocking to judicial conscience how the petitioner, who is a teacher in the subject for over 15 years, has been awarded such poor marks despite his being a postgraduate as well as an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in chemistry.

It also observed that there was something wrong either with the assessment of the selection committee or with the selection process.

 Last month, the Punjab and Haryana High Court struck down the appointment of Harish Rai Dhanda as the Punjab Public Service Commission chairman. The court observed that the decision-making process in Dhanda’s appointment was shrouded in secrecy.


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