Evaluation of DJS exam answer-sheets fair, SC told

New Delhi, March 4: Former judge Justice P. Venkatarama Reddy, who had gone through the answer-sheets of unsuccessful candidate who had appeared in Delhi Judicial Services main Examination, 2014, has told the Supreme Court that he has prima facie found their evaluation to be "fair". Pointing out that Justice Reddy's report submitted to the court was interim, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh said: "It has been concluded after going through the answer sheets of the unsuccessful candidates that prima facie the evaluation seems to be fair." The report of Justice Reddy, also a former Chairman of the Law Commission of India, was submitted to the court in a sealed cover. The court declined a plea by the counsel Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the petitioner NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) which had questioned the evaluation of answer-sheets in the main exam, for a copy of the report so that they could make further submissions. However, accommodating Bhushan's plea, the bench permitted him to peruse the report available with the court master. The apex court on December 14, 2015, had appointed Justice Reddy to undertake the re-evaluation of the papers of over 600 unsuccessful candidates who had appeared in the 2014 Delhi Judicial Services main exam to ascertain if any of them could be called for final interview before appointment. While asking Justice Reddy to commence the exercise on or before January 10, 2016, the apex court had said that the exercise of the re-evaluation of papers of the candidates who did not make to the final list after the main exam may be completed in six weeks time. Ordering the re-evaluation of the answer-sheet of 600 candidates who did not succeed in making to final list, the apex court on December 14 had made it clear that the re-evaluation exercise by Justice Reddy would in no way unsettle the already successful 15 candidates' - 13 from general category and two from reserved category. The court had further said that any successful candidate emerging from the re-evaluation exercise would have no claim on any seniority over the 15 already selected. In 2014, there were 80 vacancies but only 15 could be filled up as only 15 candidates succeeded in main exam and they succeeded in interview also. Of the 80 vacancies, 55 were in general category and 25 in reserved category. The Centre for Public Interest Litigation in PIL had sought the quashing of the main exam result and re-evaluation of the answer-sheets by an independent expert committee headed by a retired judge of the high court, alleging "unreasonable and arbitrary" evaluation in the exam. For 80 vacancies of DJS exam 2014, 9033 candidate had appeared in the preliminary exam and 659 of them who had succeeded in it, appeared in main exams held on October 10 and 11, 2014. The results that were declared on May 1, 2015 - eight months after the examination - saw only 15 candidate (13 from general category and two from reserved category) selected for interview to be held on August 6 and all the 15 were declared successful.