The Bombay High Court has held that the criteria adopted by Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) for shortlisting candidates for the posts of statisticians in 2009 was not rational and proper.
Accordingly, a bench rejected MPSC's petition justifying criteria for shortlisting candidates for the posts.
MPSC's petition challenged a ruling of Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT), which said the criteria adopted by MPSC for shortlisting candidates was not in conformity with the terms and conditions set out in the advertisement.
"A public authority is entitled to adopt or evolve criteria for shortlisting candidates it seeks to recruit. But these criteria must be rational, not whimsical or arbitrary; and, secondly, once set out, they must be consistently applied through to the end of the recruitment process," noted Justices G S Patel and Abhay Oak recently.
"The second facet seems as important as the first; uncertainty in setting standards always clouds the final result, and the present case is no different. We see no reason to interfere with the decision of the tribunal. The petition is, therefore, rejected," the judges remarked.
On February 13, 2009, MPSC issued an advertisement inviting applications for four posts of "Statistician, General State Service, Group-B" in Directorate of Medical Education and Research. One post was reserved for ST category, three were in open category, with one reserved for women.
The candidates were required to have a second class bachelor's degree with mathematics or science, plus a post graduate diploma in statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, or the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, or any other recognised institution.
They were also required to hold a master's degree in statistics or mathematics with statistics as special subject.
The terms and conditions in the ad allowed MPSC to give preference to those with more experience and specified the manner of gauging such experience.
There were 51 eligible candidates for two general category posts. MPSC's guidelines needed short-listing of 10 candidates. While preparing the short list, MPSC gave preference to those who had obtained higher marks in their PG degrees. For the post reserved for women in the open category, a different shortlisting criteria was adopted.