Delhi High Court: Rules of a game cannot be changed after the game is over

Recently, the Delhi High Court held that selection process of an exam cannot be changed after the admission process is over.

Justice V. Kameshwar observed, “The rules of the game cannot be changed after the game is over, if the statutory rules do not restrain, is fully competent to prescribe minimum qualifying  marks for written examination as well as for the interview but such prescription must be done at the time of initiation of selection process. The change of criterion of selection in the midst of selection process is not permissible.”

This ruling came while the court was hearing a petition filed by one Paramjit Singh against the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. which conducted a recruitment drive for the post of Junior Operator Grade 1 in February 2011. The petitioner did not get appointed despite the fact that he had obtained the second highest marks in the written examination.

He was subsequently informed that this was due to the fact that he had failed to make the cut-off in the interviews since the interview was of qualifying nature.

The question before the court was whether the cutoff marks of 35% for general/OBC candidates, before the interview process could commence was justified.

While giving this judgment the court relied on the Supreme Court judgment in K Manjusree v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2008) 3 SCC 512 that the criterion for selection to be adopted and should be declared at the commencement of the recruitment process.

The Delhi High Court further held that since this criterion was not mentioned in the advertisement. IOCL could not have stipulated 35% as the cut-off marks for OBC candidates. The court held that the procedure cannot be altered in the favour of selected candidates as the marks of the written test were not disclosed to the interviewers.


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