1. The petitioners in all these cases are candidates who aspired to be selected and appointed to the post of Lower Division Accountants in the Kerala State Industries and Development Corporation Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as 'SIDCO'); and assert that they are all sufficiently qualified as per the notification issued by the Kerala Public Service Commission (for short' PSC') for this purpose.2. The petitioners, however, allege that they were excluded from the rank list published by the PSC, citing the reason that none of them had the qualifications as are mandated in their notification. The petitioners contend that the stand adopted by the PSC is improper, since their qualifications are identical, if not equivalent, to the one prescribed in the notification. They thus pray that the rank list dated 29.12.2017 be set aside, to the extent to which they had been excluded and that the PSC be directed to issue a fresh one, including them also.3. Even though various allegations and averments are made and urged in these writ petitions in support of the prayers made, I am of the view that it could not be necessary for this Court to consider them on its merits now, since admittedly, the rank list expired on 28.12.2020. Ineluctably, therefore, whatever be the assertions that may be impelled by the petitioners, their inclusion in the rank list is now impossible, particularly because the learned Standing Counsel for the SIDCO confirms that all the vacancies have already been advised and filled up.4. However, Sri.Viju Abraham, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in WP(C)No.7524 of 2018; Smt.Devi Padma, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in WP(C)No.3921 of 2018 and Sri.Harish Gopinath, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners in WP(C)No.4647 of 2018, submitted that the reasons cited by the PSC cannot be found favour by this Court, since their clients have acquired the degree of B.Com, along with M.Com and therefore, that they were fully eligible to be included in the rank list.5. As said above, an affirmative evaluation of this issue by this Court could be unnecessary at this time but, prima facie, I cannot find the reasons that led the PSC not to include the petitioners to be capricious, especially when the qualification prescribed in the notification was B.Com with 'Special Accounts and Audit ' as a special subject, with candidates holding M.Com. degree given preference.6. Of course, the contention of the petitioners, as I can decipher from the pleadings on record, is that since they have all obtained B.Com degree in Taxation, Co-operation and such other, they could not have been found ineligible to be included in the rank list, because their course contained papers and contents with respect to Auditing and Accounting. In fact, Smt.Devi Padma, learned counsel for the petitioner in WP(C)No.3921 of 2018, added to this by saying that B.Com. with 'Special Accounts and Audit' as a special subject, was offered only by one of the Universities, namely the M.G.University; and, therefore, that candidates from other Universities have been faced with an impossible qualification to achieve.7. That said, pertinently, the SIDCO has come on record with a statement that they had, through communication dated 16.06.2017, requested the PSC to delete the requirement of the special subject in 'Special Accounts and Audit' as being a mandatory qualification.8. I cannot, however, still grant relief to the petitioners, not merely for the reason that the rank list has expired, but also because the afore recommendation of the SIDCO can only apply for the next selection process. This is because the notification involved in these cases is dated 12.08.2014 and the written examination was conducted on 16.09.2015 by the PSC, leading to a rank list being published on 29.12.2017. The recommendation by the SIDCO, to modify the educational qualification, was made only on 16.06.2017. Obviously, therefore, all these contentions can be raised by the the petitioners and other candidates only when the next process is initiated or concluded by the PSC.9. That apart, I notice that the PSC has filed a counter affidavit, wherein, they say that since the notification requires candidates to have obtained B.Com. with 'Special Accounts and Audit' as a special subject, the fact that they may have studied Auditing and Accounting when they pursued B.Com. in Taxation or Co-operation would be of no avail. Sri.P.C.Sasidharan, learned Standing Counsel appearing for the PSC, further contended that there were several candidates who had acquired B.Com. with 'Special Accounts and Audit' as a special subject and therefore, that the petitioners cannot be heard to say that the qualification was an impossible one.10. The afore submissions of Sri.P.C.Sasidharan were adopted by Sri.Kaleeswaram Raj, learned counsel appearing for s0me of the party respondents in WP(C)No.7578 of 2018, showing me that his clients have all acquired the qualification of B.Com. with 'Special Accounts and Audit' as a special subject and therefore, that they were fully qualified to these appointments. He therefore, prayed that these writ petitions be dismissed, adding that the
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interim orders issued in these cases, to the effect that appointment of the party respondents would abide by the final result in these cases, would now inure no benefit to the petitioners , since the Rank List has already expired.11. In the conspectus of the above, it is indubitable that this Court cannot grant any relief to the petitioners at this time, especially since the Rank List has concededly expired; but I leave open all their contentions to be pursued by them in future, as and when the PSC begins new recruitment process.These writ petitions are thus disposed of.