w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Ruksar Khan and Others v/s State of U.P. and Others

    Writ A. Nos. 4677, 4613, 4872, 4535, 4540, 4656, 4666, 4700, 4731, 4742, 4774, 4790, 4934, 4935, 4938, 4827 and 4881 of 2020

    Decided On, 08 July 2020

    At, High Court of Allahabad

    By, THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: JAHANGIR JAMSHED MUNIR
    By, J.

    For Petitioner: Shailendra Kumar Tripathi, Anurag Dubey, Shashi Kumar Mishra, Pankaj Kumar, Shatrughan Sonwal, Shivendu Ojha, Sr. Advocate, Radha Kant Ojha, Pramod Kumar, Babu Lal Ram, Shantanu Khare, Sr. Advocate, Ashok Khare, Jata Shankar Pandey, Vishesh Rajvanshi, Vinay Kumar, Ashish Pandey, Harindra Prasad, Pawan Kumar Singh Kaushik, Seemant Singh, Ramesh Kumar Shukla, Shashikant Mishra and Santosh Kumar Tiwari And For Respondents: C.S.C., Vikram Bahadur Singh, Arun Kumar, Mohd. Shere Ali, Pranesh Dutt Tripathi, Syed Nadeem Ahmad and Ashok Kumar Yadav



Judgment Text

1. "To err is human; to forgive, divine," wrote Alexander Pope in "An Essay on Criticism". He said this all about criticism of poetry; more about the critics approach to the work of others. Is it possible to apply the idea as a principle of remedial resort in legal matters More particularly, can this idea inspire a selecting body or the employer, inviting applications for appointment to public posts, to allow candidates to correct mistakes in their application forms about data - figures and categories - whereon the relative merit of competing candidates depends

2. These writ petitions were heard together as common questions of facts and law are involved. Accordingly, all the writ petitions are being decided by this judgment.

3. The petitioner, Ruksar Khan and others in the connected writ petitions are all candidates who have applied for posts of Assistant Teachers in Primary Schools maintained by the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Board. They have applied in response to an advertisement dated 05.12.2018, inviting applications from eligible candidates, who wish to participate in the Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2019, convened by the Examination Regulatory Authority, Prayagraj. The applications were required by the advertisement to be submitted online for registration of candidates intending to participate in the selection examination. In these applications, the candidates were required to fill up important personal details, educational qualifications etc., mentioning particulars such as roll numbers, relative to which a particular educational qualification was earned, the marks secured and the relative total marks, Special Reservation Category, if any, and the like. The advertisement bore a bold caution, figuring as a centerpieces, that makes candidates aware about a declaration they would have to make, while filling up the online registration form. It reads (translated into English from Hindi vernacular):

"I have done a printout of the online registration form and compared the entries made there with the original documents and found them to be correct and that I fully agree to finally submit/save my registration form (application). After submission final saving, I shall not be entitled to any opportunity to amend my application."

4. The selection for the post of Assistant Teachers in question is a two-tier process. The first is a written examination of eligibility on the basis of which candidates out of the total applicants, are to be selected for the next and the final stage of the recruitment process. Those selected in the written examination would be called for counselling. The counselling would involve allocation of quality points and weightage, worked out on the basis of marks secured by a candidate in different examinations, leading to certificates/degrees specified, such as High School, Intermediate, Graduation, etc. Weightage in numerical terms is reserved for such candidates who have served as Shiksha Mitra in Junior Basic Schools run by the Basic Education Board.

5. Broadly speaking, the 40% component of quality points and weightage would depend on the score determined during counselling based on the prescribed formula shown in tabular form hereinafter, whereas the remainder 60% component would be based on a candidate's marks earned in the written examination. The merit of a candidate would be the aggregate of 60% of marks earned in the written examination and the rest worked out in terms of quality points and weightage. The precise division of marks, quality points and weightage between the written examination and counselling, including the formula according to which it is to be determined, is set out in Appendix-I to the U.P. Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, 1981 [as amended vide (Twentieth Amendment) Rules, 2017 w.e.f. 09.11.2017]. Appendix-I (supra) is reproduced below:

"APPENDIX-I

[See Rule 14(3)]

Quality points and weightage for selection of candidates



Notes 1 - If two or more candidates have equal quality points, the name of the candidate who is senior in age shall be placed higher in the list. 2. If two or more candidates have equal quality points and age, the name of the candidate shall be placed in the list in English alphabetical order."

6. The selection would be based on the inter se merit of candidates, juxtaposed against the total number of posts advertised. Here, the total number of posts is 69,000. A total number of 4,31,466 candidates applied and were registered. of them, 4,09,530 appeared in the written examination. Out of those who took the written examination, 1,46,060 candidates qualified and have been called for the next stage of recruitment, that is counselling.

7. The petitioners, who are seventeen in number have qualified the written examination, except one. They say that they have committed mistakes while filling up various particulars, personal, educational and others, in their online registration form. They want to correct and rectify those mistakes which the respondents have refused to allow. They ask this Court to command the respondents to permit the petitioners to rectify mistakes committed while filling up their online registration forms. All the petitioners say that these mistakes have occurred on account of a 'human error'. It is, therefore, arbitrary not to permit them to reform those errors. A summary of the mistakes which each of the seventeen petitioners have committed, while uploading their online registration forms are shown below in tabular form:




8. The case of Chitra, the writ petitioner in Writ - A No. 4742 of 2020 is different from others in that, that she has not qualified the written examination. She says that this is on account of the fact that she has not been able to fill up the relevant entry in the application form claiming her OBC status. It is her case that in the event she is permitted to reform that mistake, the marks she has earned in the written examination would render her qualified in the OBC category. This is so because the cut-off marks for qualification of an OBC candidate in the written examination are lower and she has crossed that threshold by her earned score. It may be true that being a non-selected candidate in the written examination, this petitioner's candidature may be remoter than others, but that has no bearing on the issue involved in this petition. Like the selected candidates in the written examination, this petitioner too asks to reform her mistake in her application form, uploaded and finally submitted online. Therefore, no different issues are required to be examined so far as Writ - A No. 4742 of 2020 is concerned.

9. Heard Sri R.K. Ojha, learned Senior Advocate assisted by Sri Anurag Dubey, Sri Shivendu Ojha, Sri Pankaj Kumar, learned Counsel for the petitioners and S/Sri Pramod Kumar, Shantanu Khare, J.S. Pandey, Vishesh Rajvanshi, J.K. Tripathi, Ashish Pandey, Harindra Prasad, Seemant Singh, Ramesh Kumar Shukla, Santosh Kumar Tiwari, Pankaj Kumar, learned Counsel also appearing for the petitioners in various writ petitions, Sri M.C. Chaturvedi, learned Additional Advocate General assisted by Sri Pankaj Rai & Sri Suresh Singh, learned Additional Chief Standing Counsel and Sri S.C. Dwivedi, learned Standing Counsel appearing on behalf of the State respondents in all the writ petitions and S/Sri Vikram Bahadur Singh, Arun Kumar, Mohd. Shere Ali, P.D. Tripathi, A.K. Yadav, learned Counsel appearing for the respondent, Basic Education Board.

10. Sri R.K. Ojha, learned Senior Advocate assisted by Sri Anurag Dubey, learned Counsel for the petitioner in the leading writ petition submits that the case of the petitioner here gives rise to a slightly different proposition than those involved in the other writ petitions. It is pointed out by the learned Counsel that the petitioner, Ruksar Khan appeared in the written examination held on 16.01.2019. The recruitment process is a long drawn one that passes through nine stages. These nine stages or steps, as learned Counsel for the petitioner here chooses to describe, are these:

"Step I-Notification of Vacancies (Dt. 05.12.2018)

Step II-Registration

Step III-Deposit of Fee

Step IV-Filling of Application Form

Step V-Issuance of Admit Card

Step VI-Written Examination (06.01.2019)

Step VII-Result declared (12.05.2020) & 146060 candidates declared eligible

Step VIII-Filling of form to prefer the districts

Step IX-Counseling (final merit would be the aggregate of 60% of the qualifying marks as well as 40% based on academic qualification)"

11. This petitioner is said to have become entitled to claim in the horizontal category of 'physically handicapped' on account of low vision that she developed due to an accident, after she filled up her registration form on 06.01.2019. She was issued a disability certificate by the Medical Authority at Budaun, on 16.03.2020. The certificate mentions that this petitioner has 45% permanent disability (low vision in both eyes). It is specified in the certificate to be a condition known as "both eye high myopia with macular hole left eye". It is submitted by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that since she developed this physical handicap after she had filled up the registration form, she could not mention or claim under the physically handicapped category. She has secured 97 marks and qualified the written examination, the result whereof has been declared on 12.05.2020. It is pointed out that the petitioner had become a 45% permanently disabled person before filling up her form regarding preference for the district. Learned Counsel submits that the respondents are not permitting a change in the category from General to Physically Handicapped, because of non-mention at the time of submission of her online registration form. The respondents urge, according to the petitioner, the unqualified prohibition on any change or amendment to entries in the form once it is finally submitted/uploaded.

12. Learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that this stance would render the finality clause about entries in the registration form unreasonable and violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution, inasmuch as the desired change is based on a subsequent event that entitles the petitioner to a horizontal reservation category. Learned Counsel emphasizes that the petitioner's case is different from others, inasmuch as in all the other writ petitions, the mistakes, though cases of sheer human error were about a state of facts existing and known to each petitioner at the time when the respective application forms were filled up. Here, the state of facts changed pending the recruitment process. Therefore, according to the learned Counsel for the petitioner, it would be unreasonable to hold the petitioner bound by the non-amenability condition in the advertisement and elsewhere. Sri M.C. Chaturvedi, learned Additional Advocate General on other hand submits that the condition prohibiting any change to an entry made in the application form, once finally submitted and uploaded, is absolute. It admits of no exception. According to him, in individual cases it may cause hardship, but those cases, like the petitioner claims, would be rare. The rule is made bearing in mind the majority or the bulk of cases, where mistakes in the application forms finally uploaded were well-known to the applicants when they submitted the form online. He emphasizes that for the rare kind of case that the petitioner pleads, the rule does not make allowance. To carve out an exception for a minuscule minority of cases about a change necessitated by an event subsequent, would disturb the entire recruitment process. Mr. Chaturvedi, therefore, submits that the case of this petitioner is in no way different from the other petitioners. It is to be dealt with on the same principles.

13. The petitioner's submission here, to treat her case differently from others, draws inspiration from a decision of the Rajasthan High Court in SB Civil Writ Petition no. 4798 of 2012, Bharti vs. State and others and connected matters, decided on 13th September, 2012. It was a case where the petitioners in each of the four writ petitions had applied for posts of Teachers Grade-II in the subjects of Mathematics, English, Science and Social Science. After submission of their application forms, the petitioners lost their husbands. There was a horizontal reservation provided for widows. The petitioners desired to claim that reservation which was denied by the selecting body or the employers. The Court held them entitled to claim benefit of the change on account of a supervening event, in the following words:

"The submission of learned counsel for the petitioners is that the petitioners are admittedly widows and such an unfortunate event is required to be considered by the respondents while making appointment to the posts concerned. It is asserted that the object to earmark certain vacancies for widows is nothing but an effort to rehabilitate and empower them by providing employment. The consideration of the petitioners shall be nothing but satisfaction of the object for earmarking the vacancies. Learned counsels to substantiate their contention placed reliance upon a Single Bench judgment of this Court in Ms. Jamna Rajpurohit v. State of Rajasthan & Ors., SB Civil Writ Petition No. 8899/2012, decided on 29.8.2012. In the case aforesaid while dealing with the similar circumstances a coordinate Bench of this Court held as under:-

"It is true that the petitioner applied for consideration of her candidature for recruitment on the post of Teacher Grade-III (Second Level) under the General category because on the date on which she filled up her form her husband was alive and, later on, admission card was issued to her for appearing in the written-examination and, in pursuance of that, she appeared in the written-examination on 02.06.2012. Unfortunately, her husband died on 18.06.2012, therefore, immediately the petitioner preferred representation to the respondents for changing her category from General to Widow; but, the prayer of the petitioner was rejected ostensibly in view of clause 19(1) of the advertisement.

It is not in dispute that the petitioner applied under the General category but it is also correct that before declaration of result her husband died on 18.06.2012 which is a natural calamity. Therefore, obviously the fact of death of petitioner's husband was to be considered by the authorities of the welfare State in view of the fact that women fall under the weaker section of the society as per Article 16 of the Constitution of India. The petitioner is only asking for considering her candidature for appointment as Teacher Grade-III (Second Level) under the "Widow" category as per her merit in the written-examination.

In my opinion, the decision has not been taken by the authority concerned objectively because the respondents themselves are changing category at their own for the candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC to General category if they secure marks to compete as per their merit with General category and considering those reserve category candidates under the General category; meaning thereby, the candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC category are getting benefit of change of category from reserve class to General if found meritorious, then, same analogy can be put into operation for young widows also.

Further, it is important to take judicial note of the fact that unlike other reserve categories the status falling under the "Widow" category purely rests upon happening of an event in the course of life of a woman and no sooner husband of a woman dies she is rendered widow for all purposes including her consideration for employment purposes under the widow category and denial shall rather render the proceedings vitiated and violative of the Constitutional provision. Therefore, the concerned authority was under obligation to exercise its power for granting relief to the petitioner. However, it has not been done in this case."

In the instant matter to the petitioners became widows after submitting the application forms but before completion of process of selection. As such, their case is also required to be treated in accordance with the law laid down by this Court in the case of Ms. Jamna Rajpurohit (supra)."

14. The petitioner's contention would surely carry much weight had her case rested upon specific particulars about the accident and the precise time that she acquired the physical disability, entitling her to a change in status to a physically handicapped candidate. A perusal of the writ petition shows that the assertions are woefully vague about what kind of accident did befall the petitioner; the date, place and circumstances of the accident. It would be apposite in this connection to refer paragraphs nos. 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the writ petition, that carry the relevant averments. These read:

"11. That it is pertinent to mention here that during the aforesaid process of examination and before announcement of its result the petitioner became a case of low vision due to an accident and her case was diagnosed by District Medical Authority of Budaun as her both eye high myopia with macular hole left eye. The District Medical Authority, Budaun has issued Disability Certificate 16.03.2020 to the petitioner wherein it has been mentioned that she has 45% Permanent in relation to her (both eye) as per guidelines. Copy of the disability certificate of the petitioner dated 16.03.20 is being annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE NO. 7 to this writ petition.

12. That it is appropriate to submit here even though the petitioner applied in general category while before announcement of result the petitioner became a case of low vision due to an accident and her case was diagnosed by District Medical Authority of Budaun as her both eye high myopia with macular hole left eye resultantly she became 45% permanent disable as 45% permanent in relation to her (both eye) as per guidelines.

13. That the petitioner became 45% permanent disable before the filling of the application of preference of districts through online while there was no option in the system to change her category from general to reserve category of physical handicapped so did not change her category.

14. That the petitioner became 45% permanent disable during the course of the process of the aforesaid examination."

15. There is also on record a representation by the petitioner dated 18.05.2020, addressed to the Examination Regulatory Authority, Prayagraj claiming benefit of the physically handicapped category, based on the supervening permanent disability. A perusal of the said representation shows that there is not as much as a whisper about the date, place, time or circumstances of the accident. All that is said in the representation is expressed in the following words (in Hindi vernacular):



(Emphasis by Court)

16. This Court finds that in the absence of the slightest detail or particulars about the accident that the petitioner claims to have caused a supervening permanent disability, she is not entitled to ask for a change in the midst of the recruitment process. The principle enunciated by the Rajasthan High Court in Bharti vs. State (supra) would not come to the petitioner's rescue. The consequence is that the petitioner's case is to be treated at par and on the same parameters as the other petitioners, who committed a mistake by a wrong mention or non-mention of a particular fact or figure in the application form when they uploaded it, though it was well within their knowledge at the time.

17. The submission of the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners is that omissions or mistakes in the application forms committed by the petitioners are the result of what may be called 'human error'. The petitioners do not stand to gain by the flawed entries. It is emphasized by Mr. Ojha, learned Senior Counsel that the application forms submitted online are to be subjected to verification by human agency, cross-checking the entries on a comparison with the original certificates/degrees/documents issued by the Board/University/Issuing Institutions. According to Mr. Ojha, therefore, the petitioners cannot stand to gain by entering some wrong particulars, that is to his/their advantage, or if the facet of advantage be not there, an incorrect entry, in any case, would be detected during scrutiny. Learned Counsel further submits that these aberrations that are the products of sheer human error come about in consequence of the ground realities in the Indian social milieu. Mr. Ojha says that the hard reality cannot be ignored that majority of candidates applying for the posts in question hail from a rural background. Even if they come from urban areas, they are not truly urbane. They are not affluent young men or women who sit in the comfort of their homes, to fill up their individual forms on a privately owned computer facility. According to him, these application forms are filled up through public and common facilities, like cybercafes, where an indifferent third party - a commercial computer operator enters handwritten data relating to scores of candidates into individual computer generated online application forms. Cramped spaces and strained resources, in these circumstances, are often responsible for mistakes of the kind, escaping attention of an anxious candidate peeping over the operator's shoulder. Illustratively, he points out that in Writ - A No. 4872 of 2020, in the column relating to total marks secured by the petitioner in his High School, Intermediate and Graduation examinations, the percentage figure of those marks has been entered by a sheer human error. These are, therefore, products of mistake, that ought to be permitted rectification of.

18. Mr. Ojha further submits that the anxiety of an employer ought to be about selecting the best possible talent available, particularly, in public employment. That consideration ought not to be lost by excluding a meritorious candidate for a non-substantial and inconsequential lapse attributable to human error. Mr. Ojha has, particularly, emphasized that cases of an incorrect entry in the online application form would be different from cases of an incorrect entry made in an OMR Sheet. In case of an OMR Sheet, according to the learned Senior Counsel, there is no human agency to recheck the accuracy of the entries made. The OMR Sheets are processed and evaluated exclusively by a computer facility, where an incorrect entry cannot be corrected. A permission to rectify and reform, therefore, in the case of an OMR Sheet, would lead the entire evaluation to go haywire. Mr. Ojha, therefore, urges that all those Authorities that repel a candidate's right to a change of entries made by him in the OMR Sheet proceed on a different principle that has no application here.

19. Mr. Seemant Singh, Mr. Anurag Dubey, Mr. Shivendu Ojha, Mr. Pankaj Kumar, Mr. Pramod Kumar, Mr. Shantanu Khare, Mr. J.S. Pandey, Mr. Vishesh Rajvanshi, Mr. J.K. Tripathi, Mr. Ashish Pandey, Mr. Harindra Prasad, Mr. Ramesh Kumar Shukla and Mr. Santosh Kumar Tiwari have elaborately addressed this Court with reference to facts of the respective causes in which they appear. Broadly on principle, they have advanced a submission that a mistake that is obvious to the eye as a product of human error, ought to be permitted reform of. They have also submitted that in the absence of demonstrable mala fides or fraud, which is a remote possibility, the candidate ought not be penalized for a mere human error. All the learned Counsel have, in one voice, distinguished these cases from those where an incorrect entry has been made in an OMR Sheet.

20. Sri M.C. Chaturvedi, learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the State and S/Sri Vikram Bahadur Singh, Arun Kumar, Mohd. Shere Ali, P.D. Tripathi and A.K. Yadav, learned Counsel appearing for the Basic Education Board, all reiterate their stand in answer to the petitioners' submission noticed in the earlier part of this judgment. They say that once an application form is finally submitted online, the agreed conditions do not permit any change to be made to the entries there.

21. This Court must record the fact that Mr. Chaturvedi, learned Additional Advocate General and the other learned Counsel representing the Basic Education Board, have opposed the motion to admit this petition to hearing. They have urged that it is a matter that does not require affidavits to be put in on behalf of the respondents for the position of law is clear. They say that the facts in each of the writ petitions that are almost common, do not entitle the petitioners to relief, given the position of law that governs rights of parties. Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of mistakes that the various petitioners have committed: the first is the wrong mention or non-mention of a reservation category; the second is a correction to the marks mentioned in one or the other relevant examinations; and the third is an incorrect mention of the roll number in one or the other relevant examinations. It merits notice that the recruitment process for the posts of these 69,000 Assistant Teachers in various schools of the Basic Education Board commenced with a Government Order no. 2056/68-4-2018, Shiksha Anubhag-4, dated 01.12.2018, carrying guiding principles applicable to the selections. The aforesaid Government Order vide paragraph no. 17, sub-paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 6 enumerates the following instructions for candidates:




22. In Schedule-II appended to the Government Order dated 01.12.2018, there are detailed instructions about the manner in which a candidate is to proceed, step by step in order to submit his application form online. Paragraphs nos. 1, 2 and, in particular, paragraph no. 7 of the Schedule are relevant. These are extracted below:




23. The advertisement issued by the Examination Regulatory Authority, U.P., Prayagraj, dated 05.12.2018 is of great relevance which carries as part of it, the requirement of a declaration set out in the advertisement that every candidate is required to make when he/she submits his/her online application form. This declaration has been extracted in the opening part of this judgment.

24. The attention of this Court has been drawn to two of the application forms submitted by Rajesh Kumar and Pooja Yadav, who are the petitioners in Writ-A No. 4535 of 2020 and Writ-A No. 4540 of 2020, respectively. There is a declaration carried at the foot of each of the applications, in the following words:



Admittedly, there is an identical declaratory made by each of the petitioners, while uploading/submitting their online application forms.

25. A reading of the Government Order, initiating the recruitment process, the advertisement for the posts of Assistant Teachers in Basic Schools to be filled up through the Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2019 issued by the Examination Regulatory Authority, U.P., Prayagraj and the online registration form that each of these petitioners filled up, unequivocally speak about a declaration to be made by every candidate applying, that he/she, has after filling up the form online, taken a printout of the same and compared the particulars entered there with his/her original documents. He/she has found those entries to be correct and is agreeable to save those entries. The declaration postulates a further undertaking by the candidate that after the online form is finally saved, the applicant shall have no opportunity to amend or change the particulars entered there. It is not just that, that the declaration is hidden away in the Government Order to remain unnoticed by a candidate's eye. It is prominently published as part of the advertisement dated 05.12.2018, inviting applications for the posts in question. The candidates who have submitted the application form have made a separate declaration in the terms indicated in the Government Order and the advertisement. Thus, by the declaration made, each of the candidates have bound themselves by a solemn declaration for every word of it. This Court noticed that the declaration is not a formal utterance. It requires the candidates to say that after filling up the form online, he/she has done a print and compared the entries made by him/her in the hard copy with his/her original documents. The declaration is, therefore, one that guarantees action by the applicant in going about a checking exercise as to particulars mentioned in his/her application form. To add to this, is the second Schedule to the Government Order dated 01.12.2018 carrying detailed instructions about the manner in which the online application form is to be filled up.

26. It would be noticed there that very detailed guidelines have been issued about the manner to go about the exercise of submitting the application form. It indicates the choice of 'Reset', if the information appearing is not correct. The option may be used to rectify an error. It is once that a candidate is satisfied that the information appearing is correct that he/she may move on with filling up his/her application form by clicking the option, 'Next'. In the event any information filled up is not accurate, there is an option appearing on the site, 'Back' that affords a candidate opportunity to rectify errors. It is upon clicking the option, 'Final submit' that the application form would stand uploaded and submitted. Before doing so, is the option as well as the requirement to print a copy of the filled up form and cross-check every entry there with one's original documents.

27. With so much of an elaborate exercise involved in the uploading of an examination form that constitutes final submission, it would be the most callous conduct of a candidate that alone could lead to an error about the particulars filled up. It would be in the opinion of this Court an act almost of negligence to go wrong about an entry. The procedure prescribed for the filling up of a form makes provision for exclusion of every human error. An error, therefore, if not attributable to malice or fraud in this transaction, would as said above be an act bordering on the candidate's negligence.

28. Learned Counsel for the petitioners have called in aid of their submission that a wrong mention of marks in the application form ought to be condoned and permitted to be rectified as a human error, the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Km. Archana Rastogi vs. State of UP and others, 2012 (3) ADJ 219. They have placed reliance on paragraph no. 7 of the report in Km. Archana Rastogi (supra), where it is held:

"7. From perusal of the column 13 of the advertisement (Annexure-5 to the writ petition), it will be seen that along with the Application Form the candidates were also required to submit their High School and other certificates in support of the declaration of marks made by them in column 10 of the advertisement. Thus, the High School Examination Certificate having been appended to the Application Form it cannot be said that there was no material before the competent authority to verify the actual marks obtained by the appellant-petitioner. In fact, the testimonials in support of the education qualification are, as a matter of fact, required to be filed for purposes of verification of the statement and declaration made in column 10 of the advertisement and, in such circumstances, the High School Certificate of the appellant-petitioner being before the competent authority, even if the appellant had, through human error mentioned her marks obtained in her High School Certificate as 256, the competent authority ought to have verified the same from the High School marks shown in the High School Certificate appended to the appellant's Application Form. Apparently, this was not done and the candidature of the appellant was rejected in a most cursory and arbitrary fashion relying purely upon the declaration made in the Application Form. It may further be noticed that by mentioning her High School marks in the application form as 256 instead of 356 the appellant-petitioner did not stand to gain any ulterior benefits and it is not a case where the appellant-petitioner deliberately tried to mislead the respondents for any personal gain. These facts have not been considered at all by the competent authority while rejecting the representation of the appellant-petitioner. However, as we have already mentioned that since the original testimonials were appended to the application form, the competent authority ought to have given credence to the High School Examination Certificate appended to the Application Form of the appellant rather than ignoring the same and arbitrarily rejecting the candidature of the appellant-petitioner merely on the basis of lesser marks wrongly disclosed in the Application Form."

29. The decision of their Lordships of the Division Bench in Km. Archana Rastogi (supra) was rendered in the context of the Special BTC Training, 2008, wherefrom the petitioner was excluded on account of a wrong mention of her marks in her High School as 256 in place of 356. What appears from the decision is that the examination form was submitted, apparently not online, along with a copy of the High School and other certificates enclosed. It was in the context of the aforesaid method of submission obtaining at the time, that the Division Bench laid down the proposition that the competent Authority ought to have given credence to the High School Examination Certificate appended to the application form, rather than rely on an incorrect mention of lesser marks in the application form. The present is a completely different mechanism of submission and, therefore, a very different context in which the law has to determine rights of parties. Here is a case of an online submission of the application form with no testimonials attached. Rather, it is the candidate who has been burdened with the obligation to declare that after entering all particulars in the online application form, he has printed a copy thereof and compared it with the original documents. There is a specific declaration further made that the candidate, after final submission of the form, shall have no right to ask for any correction or amendment to the particulars mentioned there. The principle on which their Lordships of the Division Bench decided Km. Archana Rastogi (supra) is not at all attracted here.

30. Learned counsel for the petitioners have next placed reliance upon a decision of a learned Single Judge of this Court in Writ - A No. 4321 of 2020, Amar Bahadur and 25 others and connected matters decided on 19.06.2020. This case relates to the examination that is subject matter of this petition. Learned Counsel have drawn pointed attention of this Court to the disposition of Amar Bahadur (supra). By that decision, the writ petition was allowed, holding thus:

"I consider to appropriate to deal with the writ petition No. 4321 of 2020 first.

In this case, all the petitioners are stated to have qualified on the basis of the written examination. They have made mistakes while filling up their marks obtained by them in various qualifying examinations. Some, as noticed above, they filled lower marks while other have filled higher marks than actually obtained. The petitioners in this petition, in my opinion would be governed by the order passed in Writ Petition No. 4088 of 2020 which reads as follows:-

"From perusal of the same, it is clear that after the petitioner was found selected, she has to face the aforesaid Selection Committee. I am of the opinion that for the mistake, which was committed by the petitioner, she should place the aforesaid facts before the aforesaid Selection Committee at the time of counselling. If petitioner will place the aforesaid facts before the Selection Committee constituted under Rule 16 of the Rules 1981, the Selection Committee will look into the same sympathetically and pass appropriate orders for the correction of roll number in the application form of the petitioner."

This petition, therefore, is liable to be allowed on the same reasoning as extracted above."

31. A perusal of the said decision shows that in accepting a case of human error or mistake, the learned Judge has in turn relied upon a decision of this Court in Writ - A No. 4088 of 2020, Pinkee vs. State of U.P. and 2 others, decided on 04.06.2020, noted in the relevant part of the judgment extracted above. There is no further reasoning apart from reliance on the decision in Pinkee (supra). Now, the decision in Pinkee (supra) does not answer the point involved here as it was never argued, considered or decided. More about this decision is said later in this judgment. The decision in Pinkee (supra) is, therefore, one that is confined to its facts. For the same reason, the decision in Amar Bahadur (supra) also turns on its own facts. It does not lay down any principle or indicate reasons that would serve as binding precedent.

32. Learned Counsel for the petitioners have pressed into service the decision of a learned Single Judge of this Court sitting at Lucknow in Service Single No. 9597 of 2020, Anshuman Singh and others vs. State of U.P. through Additional Chief Secretary, Basic Education and others, decided on 22.06.2020. This decision relates to the present examination, where there were mistakes by one petitioner in filling up his marks obtained in the High School and by the other in his TET. The learned Judge disposed of the matter at the admission stage, in terms of the following directions:

"Considering the facts and circumstances, this Court is of the opinion that no gainful purpose would be served by keeping this petition pending, accordingly the petition is disposed of with a direction to the respondent no. 4, who shall consider the pending representation of the petitioners no. 1, 2 and 3 as brought on record as annexure nos. 8, 9 and 10. In case if the respondent no. 4 requires any information to substantiate and verify the records, they shall inform the petitioners of the same by giving reasonable opportunity to enable the petitioners to provide the necessary testimonial to substantiate their submissions regarding the error in filling the online form and may provide the correct details which may be verified by the authority concerned. This Court further directs that the entire exercise be completed within a period of one month from the date a certified copy of this order is placed before the authority concerned."

33. Two other decisions that have been relied upon by the learned Counsel for the petitioners are decisions of learned Single Judges in Writ - A No. 4065 of 2020, Rakesh Kumar vs. State of U.P. and 2 others, decided on 30.05.2020 and Pinkee (supra). In Rakesh Kumar (supra), the relevant part of the judgment, which again was a matter that was disposed of at the admission stage, reads thus:

"After some arguments, the petitioner has confined his prayer only to the effect that the representations submitted by him before the authorities dated 16.5.2020 as well as 20.5.2020, copy of which is appended as annexure 7 to the writ petition, be decided expeditiously.

Without entering into the merits of the case, petitioner is directed to submit a fresh representation along-with copy of the earlier representations dated 16.5.2020 as well as 20.5.2020 as well as self attested computer generated copy of this order downloaded from the official website of High Court Allahabad before the Secretary, U.P. Basic Education Board, Prayagraj/respondent no. 3 within a period of one week from today, the respondent no. 3 will pass appropriate orders on the same expeditiously and preferably within a period of three weeks thereafter, in accordance with law."

34. In Pinkee (supra), it has been held:

"It appears from perusal of the record that the petitioner duly participated in Assistant Teacher 3 Recruitment Examination 2019 under O.B.C. category candidate. She was declared duly qualified by the respondent-Board and while declaring her result it was found that by way of mistake a wrong roll number has been typed out by her in the application form. After the petitioner was declared successful, for the purpose of appointment a Selection Committee was constituted. In this regard Rules were duly framed by the State Government namely the U.P. Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, 1981. Under Rule 16 of the Rules, 1981 it is provided that for selection of candidates for appointment to any post, the candidate should appear before a Selection Committee comprising of four persons as indicated in Rule 16 itself. Subsequently, vide notification dated 31.8.2012 Rule 17 was also incorporated in the Rules of 1981. The Rules 16 and 17 of the Rules 1981 are reproduced hereinbelow:- (quoted portion omitted).

From perusal of the same, it is clear that after the petitioner was found selected, she has to face the 4 aforesaid Selection Committee. I am of the opinion that for the mistake, which was committed by the petitioner, she should place the aforesaid facts before the aforesaid Selection Committee at the time of counselling. If petitioner will place the aforesaid facts before the Selection Committee constituted under Rule 16 of the Rules 1981, the Selection Committee will look into the same sympathetically and pass appropriate orders for the correction of roll number in the application form of the petitioner."

35. Now, so far as the decisions in Anshuman Singh (supra) and Rakesh Kumar (supra) are concerned, a reading of the same would show that there is no reason assigned by the learned Judges in those cases for the directions made. The decisions, therefore, must be held confined to the facts obtaining there. So far as the decision in Pinkee (supra) is concerned, the reasoning, on which it proceeds, is somewhat similar to the Division Bench in Km. Archana Rastogi (supra). The learned Judge appears to have taken the view that the mistake about incorrect mention of her roll number relating to her Graduation Examination ought to be considered by the statutory selection committee under Rule 16 of the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, 1981, who would assess her merit finally. The selection committee were directed to look into the petitioner's case sympathetically and pass appropriate orders regarding correction of the relevant roll number in the application form. A perusal of the decision in Pinkee (supra) shows that His Lordship's attention was perhaps not invited to the very meticulous process through which the online examination form has to be submitted for the Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2019. The point involved was neither raised, argued or decided. The decision, therefore, insofar as the point involved here is concerned, must be held to pass sub silentio. It would, therefore, not be binding precedent as later explained in this judgment.

36. Further reliance has been placed on a decision of this Court in Writ - A No. 5632 of 2019, Babita Pandey and 3 others vs. State of U.P. and 4 others, decided on 12.04.2019. The said decision relates to the Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2018, where it is held on facts evident from the short judgment, thus:

"In the similar situation, a circular dated 11.10.2018 had been issued by the Secretary, U.P. Basic Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad to all the District Basic Education Officers providing for corrections in the On-line application forms. Attention of the Court is invited to page '88' of the paper book to submit that corrections can be made by filing an application alongwith the affidavit.

On another query made by the Court as to whether the petitioner has approached the competent authority in the light of the circular dated 11.10.2018, it is admitted that they have not applied so far.

Sri Arun Kumar, learned counsel for the respondent nos. 3 and 4, however, does not dispute the assertion of the petitioner that corrections can be sought by them by filing appropriate affidavits in the light of the circular dated 11.10.2018.

For the aforesaid, without entering into the merits of claim of the petitioners, a liberty is granted to the petitioners to approach the Secretary, U.P. Basic Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad, by moving proper applications, strictly in accordance with the circular dated 11.10.2018."

This Court notices that the decision in Babita Pandey (supra) relates to the Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2018. It appears that the rules governing the said examination, carried in a certain circular dated 11.10.2018, made provision for corrections to be made in an application submitted by a candidate online. The rules governing corrections to incorrect entries in the application form being different for the Examination of 2018, the decision in Babita Pandey (supra) would be of no relevance here.

37. There is then reliance placed on another decision of this Court in Writ - A No. 19162 of 2018, Sachin Sharma and 3 others vs. State of U.P. & 3 others, decided on 10.09.2018. From a reading of the judgment, it is not clear whether it relates to the Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2018 or 2019. To all seeming, it relates to the year 2018, where rules about correction were different from the present examination. Apart from the said fact, the decision does not assign any reason for the directions made. It does not show that the point involved here was raised, argued and decided.

38. There is still another decision in Writ - A No. 18271 of 2018, Suman Vaishya vs. Managing Director U.P. Cooperative Bank Ltd. Lucknow and another, decided on 28.08.2018. It relates to non-consideration of the petitioner's case there about appointment under the Dying-in-Harness Rules. The petitioner's representation, claiming consideration, was ordered to be decided. The decision has absolutely no relevance here.

39. Learned Counsel for the petitioners have also banked upon the decision of this Court in Writ - A No. 19606 of 2018, Rajesh Kumar Gupta vs. State of U.P. and 3 others, decided on 14.09.2018. This case relates to a cause of action about correction to an online application form, submitted by a candidate for the post of an Assistant Teacher in Primary Schools, managed by the respondent, Basic Shiksha Parishad. It is, however, not clear whether the directions issued to the respondents to correct the 'human error' committed by the petitioner there, while submitting his online application form, relate to the recruitment of 2018 or 2019. Apparently, going by the date of the decision, it relates to the recruitment of 2018, where the rules about correction were very different. Even otherwise, the decision does not assign reasons for the directions made. It would, therefore, not have the force of precedent.

40. Relating to the present examination, learned Counsel for the petitioners have relied on another decision of a learned Single Judge of this Court sitting at Lucknow in Service Single No. 9126 of 2020, Punit Tiwari vs. State of U.P. through Principal Secretary, Basic Education, Lucknow and others, decided on 16.06.2020. The relevant part of the decision in Punit Tiwari (supra) is extracted below:

"2. The petitioner claims that he had filled a form for the competitive examination held to recruitment of assistant teacher. The said examination was conducted by the respondent no. 3 - Secretary, Examination Regulatory Authority, Allenganj, Allahabad. While filling up that form the petitioner, by mistake, filled the marks awarded in the BTC as 155 in place of 1155.

3. Nevertheless, the petitioner participated in the examination and he was also declared successful in the written examination, as per the averment made in paragraph 15 of the writ petition, he has not participated in the counselling.

4. The grievance then arises that the petitioner is not being allowed counselling owing to the discrepancy in the marks actually obtained by him in the BTC examination being 1155 and the marks that had been filled up in the online form, being 155.

5. The petitioner then submits that such an error in filing of the online form is purely clerical and therefore rectifiable and that appointment may not be denied for that reason alone.

6. In view of the above, no useful purpose would be served in keeping the present petition pending. It is disposed of with a direction that in case the petitioner has not participated in the counselling, the respondent no. 3 shall provide the petitioner one opportunity to make rectification of the details filled up in the online form as per correct details found recorded in the documents relied in support of details filled in the online form. Such opportunity and correction, if any, may be provided to the petitioner within a period of one month from today."

A perusal of the decision in Punit Tiwari (supra) would show that though it involves facts and a cause of action, identical to those involved in a number of writ petitions here, the learned Judge has not assigned reasons for the directions made. It appears that the point involved was not argued in the said case. The decision in Punit Tiwari (supra) would, therefore, not have the force of precedent.

41. It must be said, about the various decisions relied upon by the learned Counsel for the petitioners, where after a short statement of facts giving rise to the cause, directions have been issued, that these decisions do not carry the force of precedent. A decision has the value of precedent, where it lays down a principle governing a point that arises for consideration in a subsequent decision. A fortiori a decision that does not enunciate a principle of law in the context of facts involved after consideration of arguments must be regarded not binding on a Court before which the relevant point subsequently arises. The decision is regarded to pass sub silentio. The principle of sub silentio is a well acknowledged principle that relieves a Court of the obligation of precedent, where the decision relied does not indicate a consideration of the kind. A classical statement about the law relating to the principle of sub silentio is to be found in the decision of the Supreme Court in State of U.P. and Another vs. Synthetics and Chemicals Limited and Another, (1991) 4 SCC 139. In State of U.P. vs. Synthetics and Chemicals Ltd. (supra), the principle is enunciated in the concurring judgment of R.M. Sahai, J. thus:

"41. Does this principle extend and apply to a conclusion of law, which was neither raised nor preceded by any consideration. In other words can such conclusions be considered as declaration of law Here again the English courts and jurists have carved out an exception to the rule of precedents. It has been explained as rule of sub-silentio. "A decision passes sub-silentio, in the technical sense that has come to be attached to that phrase, when the particular point of law involved in the decision is not perceived by the court or present to its mind." (Salmond on Jurisprudence 12th Edn., p. 153). In Lancaster Motor Company (London) Ltd. v. Bremith Ltd. [(1941) 1 KB 675, 677 : (1941) 2 All ER 11] the Court did not feel bound by earlier decision as it was rendered 'without any argument, without reference to the crucial words of the rule and without any citation of the authority'. It was approved by this Court in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Gurnam Kaur. [ (1989) 1 SCC 101] The bench held that, 'precedents sub-silentio and without argument are of no moment'. The courts thus have taken recourse to this principle for relieving from injustice perpetrated by unjust precedents. A decision which is not express and is not founded on reasons nor it proceeds on consideration of issue cannot be deemed to be a law declared to have a binding effect as is contemplated by Article 141. Uniformity and consistency are core of judicial discipline. But that which escapes in the judgment without any occasion is not ratio decidendi. In B. Shama Rao v. Union Territory of Pondicherry [ AIR 1967 SC 1480 : (1967) 2 SCR 650 : 20 STC 215] it was observed, 'it is trite to say that a decision is binding not because of its conclusions but in regard to its ratio and the principles, laid down therein'. Any declaration or conclusion arrived without application of mind or preceded without any reason cannot be deemed to be declaration of law or authority of a general nature binding as a precedent. Restraint in dissenting or overruling is for sake of stability and uniformity but rigidity beyond reasonable limits is inimical to the growth of law."

42. The principle was again explained by the Supreme Court in Divisional Controller, KSRTC vs. Mahadeva Shetty and another, (2003) 7 SCC 197. It was held in Divisional Controller, KSRTC (supra):

"23. So far as Nagesha case [ (1997) 8 SCC 349] relied upon by the claimant is concerned, it is only to be noted that the decision does not indicate the basis for fixing of the quantum as a lump sum was fixed by the Court. The decision ordinarily is a decision on the case before the court, while the principle underlying the decision would be binding as a precedent in a case which comes up for decision subsequently. Therefore, while applying the decision to a later case, the court dealing with it should carefully try to ascertain the principle laid down by the previous decision. A decision often takes its colour from the question involved in the case in which it is rendered. The scope and authority of a precedent should never be expanded unnecessarily beyond the needs of a given situation. The only thing binding as an authority upon a subsequent Judge is the principle upon which the case was decided. Statements which are not part of the ratio decidendi are distinguished as obiter dicta and are not authoritative. The task of finding the principle is fraught with difficulty as without an investigation into the facts, it cannot be assumed whether a similar direction must or ought to be made as a measure of social justice. Precedents sub silentio and without argument are of no moment. Mere casual expressions carry no weight at all, nor every passing expression of a Judge, however eminent, can be treated as an ex cathedra statement having the weight of authority."

43. The decisions of this Court relied upon by the learned Counsel for the petitioners in Punit Tiwari (supra), Amar Bahadur (supra), Rakesh Kumar (supra), Pinkee (supra) and Anshuman Singh (supra) are all decisions which must be held to pass sub silentio and, therefore, not binding precedent.

44. The learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners have reposed faith in the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Dheerender Singh Paliwal vs. Union Public Service Commission, (2017) 11 SCC 276, where it has been held:

"14. Having considered the respective submissions and having noted the dictum of this Court as noted above, we are of the view that in the light of the prescription noted in the advertisement, the particulars furnished by the appellant in response to the said advertisement and the production of the degree certificate for having secured the BSc degree with Zoology as the subject at a later point of time there was substantial compliance with the requirement to be fulfilled in the matter of the essential qualifications possessed by the appellant. Therefore, applying the principle set down by this Court, the respondent Commission ought to have considered the application and more so when the appellant was already in the services of the Forensic Science Laboratory as Senior Scientific Assistant and his essential qualifications were very much on record in the form of rsum and therefore pursuant to the direction of the Tribunal when the respondent Commission interviewed the appellant and found him fit to be selected and appointed for the post of Senior Scientific Officer in all fairness should have appointed the appellant.

15. In the first place, it must be stated that it is not a case of the appellant not possessing the required essential qualifications but was of only not enclosing the certificate in proof of the added qualification of Zoology as one of the subjects at BSc level, from a recognised University. In the application when once the appellant, marked '1' against Column 9 and thereby confirmed that he possesses the essential qualification, namely, the postgraduate qualification as well as the degree level qualification, if at all there was any doubt about any of the qualification, the appellant should have been called upon to produce the required certificate in proof of such essential qualification. In fact in this context, when we refer to the interview proceedings of the appellant as well as two other candidates we find that the appellant produced the original BSc/MSc degree in Zoology and also submitted the attested photocopy of BSc Zoology degree. The outcome of the said interview was that the appellant should be cleared of his selection. Insofar as other two candidates, namely, Miss Babyto and Miss Imrana, are concerned, we find that the production of their caste certificate was not in the prescribed pro forma initially, nevertheless those candidates were allowed to produce the original caste certificate issued by the competent authority and after verifying the same by accepting the attested photocopies of such caste certificates, their cases were cleared. Therefore, when such a course was adopted by the respondent Commission in regard to those two candidates there is no reason why the candidature of the appellant alone was kept in suspension, though he also cleared interview process. Even assuming such clearance was not made awaiting the outcome of the order of the Tribunal, when the Tribunal upheld his selection and directed the respondent to issue necessary orders for appointment, in all fairness the respondent Commission should have issued the order of appointment. We are of the view that such an approach of the respondent Commission was unfair having regard to the very trivial issue, namely, a non-production of an added qualification as part of the essential qualification at the degree level which the appellant did possess and for mere asking, the appellant could have readily produced the same through his employer."

45. The decision of their Lordships in Dheerender Singh Paliwal (supra), on facts shows that the appellant's candidature for the post of a Senior Scientific Officer (Biology) in the Forensic Science Laboratory, Home Department, Government of Delhi was rejected by the Union Public Service Commission on ground that he had not annexed the degree of B.Sc. Zoology, which was an essential qualification that the candidate claimed to possess. The instructions were strict and required the degree or diploma or other certificates of educational qualification to be attached either by way of attested copies or self-certified copies. There was a further stipulation that in case copies of the certificates are not enclosed with the application, it is liable to be rejected.

46. By a particular note in the instructions, it was mentioned that in regard to educational qualification, mark sheets in lieu of educational certificate will not be accepted by the Commission. The appellant before their Lordships was not called for interview for reason that he had not attached the required copy of his degree of B.Sc. with Zoology. He approached the Central Administrative Tribunal which permitted him to be interviewed, provisionally by an interim order. Later on, his Original Application was allowed by the Tribunal. On a writ petition being carried to the High Court, the Division Bench reversed the judgment. It was, thus, that the candidate appealed by Special Leave to the Supreme Court, where their Lordships held in favour of eschewing technicalities and approved his candidature notwithstanding the lapse in strict adherence to the selecting body's instructions, while submitting his application form.

47. It would be noticed that the decision of their Lordships is not about a case where facts in the application form are incorrectly mentioned. It is about omission to support the application with requisite documents. Also, it is in the context of a selection by the Public Service Commission for posts where applications to all seeming were submitted in hard copies. It is also not about a case where the candidate had made a declaration that everything mentioned in the application form was accurate, certified to be so on a comparison with the original documents. It also did not involve the candidate declaring that after submission of his application, he would not be entitled to seek correction/rectification of any particulars entered there. This kind of a declaration, in fact, would not at all be required except in case of an online submission of applications with the candidature of a vast number to be processed. The principle in Dheerender Singh Paliwal (supra) is about the effect of non-annexation of supporting documents, but not about incorrect mention of particulars in the application form. The ratio in Dheerender Singh Paliwal (supra) would, therefore, not at all be attracted to the petitioners' case.

48. Reliance has also been placed on a decision of this Court in Writ - A No. 40159 of 2016, Smt. Rajni Shukla vs. Union of India and 3 others, decided on 08.03.2017. It was held in Smt. Rajni Shukla (supra) by their Lordships of the Division Bench following the decision of the Supreme Court in Dheerender Singh Paliwal (supra) thus:

"11. The facts and circumstances of the case in hand are similar to that of Dheerender Singh Paliwal's case (supra). The petitioner was having required degree of post graduation on the relevant date and she had mentioned in her application form that she was possessing the required degree of post graduation. Petitioner should have been called upon to produce the required certificate in proof of her essential qualification, if there was any doubt about her qualification. It is 6 not in dispute that no other candidate was higher in rank to the petitioner for being considered to be appointed on the post of Statistical Investigator, Grade-III. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, denial of appointment to the petitioner for the post of Statistical Investigator, Grade-III, merely on the ground that she did not attach the required certificate of master degree alongwith application form, can not be justified in the eyes of law."

49. Again, Smt. Rajni Shukla (supra) is not an authority for the principle about incorrect mention of particulars by a candidate in his/her application form. The petitioner in that case had correctly mentioned the fact that she possessed a Post Graduate Degree, but had failed to attach a copy of the said degree along with the application form. It was in the context of the said facts that the Court came to the petitioner's rescue by holding her candidature, for the post of a Statistical Investigator, Grade-III, valid. The decision in Smt. Rajni Shukla (supra) also turns on a principle very different from the one involved here.

50. The petitioners have in the last relied upon a decision of a Single Judge of this Court in Sanjay Raj vs. State of U.P. and others, 2013(2) ADJ 558. In Sanjay Raj (supra), it has been held:

"10. It is trite law that even in the administrative matter, if decision adversely affect a person's legal right or interest, the decision must be taken fairly and reasonably. Even in absence of any provision for giving opportunity the principle of natural justice is in built.

11. Procedural fairness (Procedural due process) has received a new meaning after Maneka Gandhi case (1978) 1 SCC 248. Denial of natural justice itself is arbitrary and unfair exercise of power. It is true that in case of S.L. Kapoor Vs. Jagmohan (1980) 4 SCC 379 and Aligarh Muslim University Vs. Mansoor Ali Khan (2000) 7 SCC 529, the Supreme Court has carved out exceptions of Natural Justice and evolved the " useless formality" theory. But exception, as spell out in those cases can not be applied in all cases. In the case at hand, the exception, where on admitted facts only one conclusion is possible, court may not issue futile writ is not applicable. In the present case, an educated young man who is at the threshold of his career has suffered serious prejudice by the impugned action of the respondents.

12. It is true that in the advertisement a clear method for calculation of the marks is mentioned. The petitioner, it appears, that inadvertently ignored the said clause of advertisement. He had mentioned his marks on the basis of existing norms applicable in the years 2004 in Special B.T.C. Training Course. However, it is equally true that he has enclosed all the mark sheets along with his application form. While, calculating the marks, the authority concerned ought to have ignored the mistake of the petitioner or a notice ought to have been issued to the petitioner giving an opportunity to correct the obvious human error committed by him in filing up the form. One of the requirements was to enclose all the necessary documents and mark sheets. Statements of the marks in marksheet are final not the entry in application form. While filing the form human error can not be completely ruled out, especially, from inexperienced young candidates. They should not be penalized so harshly for such error. A candidate whose marks are above cut of marks and is in merit list, deserves an opportunity before his candidature is rejected only on some error. There was no element of misrepresentation and petitioner would not get any benefit for his act."

51. While it is true that Sanjay Raj (supra) was a case where the petitioner had incorrectly mentioned his marks relating to the degree of Bachelor of Physical Education in his application form for the Special BTC Training Course, 2007, it does not appear from the decision that on the facts there, there were any instructions of the kind to candidates that involved a declaration by them. It also does not appear that Sanjay Raj (supra) was a case where the application form was submitted online involving the selecting body with massive data to process. Also, the application form there appears to have been submitted in hard copy with the mark-sheets attached. It was, thus, a decision rendered under completely different facts and system of processing. That principle would not be attracted here, where much turns on the caution and care that candidates are required to exercise in the process of submitting their application forms. The declaration too that the candidates are required to make here, distinguishes the present case.

52. There is one submission which Mr. Ojha, learned Senior Counsel made very forcefully during the hearing. It is about the conditions in which aspiring candidates fill up their application forms online. According to him, these forms are not filled up in the comfort of the candidate's home, working on his personal computer facility. It is done by proxy in overcrowded public facilities, like a cyber-caf, where there is a high and logical chance for human errors to creep in while the application forms are finally submitted online. For a fact, it may be true in a few or in a substantial number of cases, but once a candidate has accepted on his undertaking that he has compared the entries made in the application form in the manner prescribed by taking out a print and comparing it with the original, there is no avenue to look at the proxy hand of a third party computer operator and make allowance for his mistake. Moreover, if this argument were to be accepted, the smooth conduct of the recruitment process to public posts, in large numbers, would go awry.

53. Shri M.C. Chaturvedi, learning Additional Advocate General and the learned Counsel appearing for the Basic Education Board have placed reliance on a decision of the Division Bench of this Court in Special Appeal No. 834 of 2013, Ram Manohar Yadav vs. State of U.P. and 3 others, decided on 30.05.2013. Oddly, the petitioners have relied on the said decision too. In Ram Manohar Yadav (supra), it has been held:

"If prospective teacher can not even correctly fill up the simple on line application form for his employment, it is obvious what he is going to teach if appointed. There are certain decisions cited on this issue. But none of them deal with this aspect whether under the discretionary jurisdiction of the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India such incompetent persons should be allowed to play with the future of the next generation.

Therefore, we are of the opinion that the petitioner/appellant should wait till he attains sufficient maturity and learns to be more careful in filling up the applications for jobs. .."

54. Learned Counsel for the respondents have placed further reliance on a decision of this Court in Writ - A No. 3347 of 2019, Mritunjay Kumar Mishra And Another vs. State of U.P. And Another, decided on 07.03.2019. In the said decision, this Court did not accept the petitioners' plea seeking correction to application forms submitted by them for posts of Assistant Teachers. They were qualified to apply in the subject of Social Science, but by a claimed human error, mentioned Science instead. This Court refused to accept the petitioners' request for a correction drawing largely upon the reasoning of a Division Bench of this Court in Special Appeal No. 90 of 2018, Jai Karan Singh and 52 others vs. State of U.P. through Secretary and 4 others, decided on 25.04.2018. Now, Jai Karan Singh (supra) is an authority about correction of mistakes relating to particulars entered in the OMR Sheet. It does not concern a case of mistake in writing particulars on an application form. This Court does not think that much would turn on the reasoning of an authority that relates to mistakes in the OMR Sheet, as distinguished from mistakes in the online application form that are sought to be corrected. This is so because mistakes in OMR Sheets do not involve the intervention of a human agency to check and verify. These, therefore, provide no opportunity to rectify mistakes. This position is accepted by Mr. R.K. Ojha, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioners. The issue here is not at all about mistakes in filling up particulars in OMR Sheets.

55. This Court is of opinion that decisions relating to rectification of mistakes, all made in OMR Sheets, would have no bearing on the issue involved here. The decision in Mritunjay Kumar Mishra (supra) must be held confined to its facts, for the point that arises here, though involved, was not presented to the Court for consideration. The point, therefore, must be held to pass sub silentio. Reliance has also been placed by the respondents upon the decision of this Court in Jai Karan Singh (supra) which is a decision, as already said, relating to a claim for rectification of mistakes in the OMR Sheet that has no application here. For the same reason the decision in Kanchan Bala and others vs. State of U.P. and others, 2018 (2) AWC 1233, relied upon by the learned Counsel for the respondents, would also not be attracted.

56. Learned Counsel for the respondents has laid much emphasis on the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Special Appeal Defective No. 123 of 2014, Smt. Arti Verma vs. State of U.P. and 2 others, decided on 05.02.2014. Attention of the Court has been drawn to Smt. Arti Verma (supra), where it is held:

"In the present case, the appellant claimed the benefit of Freedom Fighters category. The contention that this was as a result of an error committed by the Computer Operator cannot simply be accepted for the reason that the appellant would necessarily be responsible for any statement which he made on line. If the Courts were to accept such a plea of the appellant, that would result in a situation where the appellant would get the benefit of a wrong category if the wrong claim went unnoticed and if noticed, the appellant could always turn around and claim that this was as a result of human error. Each candidate necessarily must bear the consequences of his failure to fill up the application form correctly. No fault can, therefore, be found in rejecting the application for correction when the candidate himself has failed to make a proper disclosure or where, as in the present case, the application is submitted under a wrong category. Interference of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is 3 clearly not warranted in such matters as it creates grave uncertainty since the selection process cannot be finally completed. Moreover, in the present case, the appointment was of a contractual nature for a period of eleven months. Hence, considering the matter from any perspective, the learned Single Judge was not in error in dismissing the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution."

57. Attention of this Court has been next called to a decision of this Court in Writ - A No. 4070 of 2020, Ashutosh Kumar Srivastava and 60 others vs. State of U.P. and 2 others, decided on 30.05.2020. The said decision relates to the present recruitment, that is to say, the Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2019. In the said decision too corrections were sought to application forms by candidates, where there were errors about marks mentioned in their respective forms relating to different examinations. The plea urged was the same as the one here about the mistakes being the product of human error and not deliberate lapses. The Court after a copious review of authority held:

"20. The error committed by the candidates cannot be said to be human in nature. The petitioners should have read the instructions that were issued time and again and should have correctly filled the entries relating to the marks obtained by them in their previous examinations. The contention that this was an error committed by the Computer Operator cannot simply be accepted. If the Courts were to accept such a plea of the petitioners, then this would result in a situation where the petitioners would get the benefit of a wrong if the wrong claim went unnoticed and if noticed the petitioners could always turn around and claim that this was a result of a human error. Each candidate necessarily must bear the consequences of his failure to fill up the application form correctly. From perusal of the record, I am of the opinion that the error/errors committed by the petitioners are neither minor nor are human error/errors."

58. Learned Counsel for the respondents in the last relied on a decision of this Court in Writ - A No. 4087 of 2020, Ramhari Gurjar vs. State of U.P. and 2 others, decided on 11.06.2020. Ramhari Gurjar (supra) is again a case that relates to the Assistant Teachers Recruitme

Please Login To View The Full Judgment!

nt Examination, 2019. It is also about a claim for rectification of a mistake in the application form committed by the petitioner there in Column-10 of the form. It appears that the petitioner was entitled to a horizontal reservation under the Physically Handicapped Quota, but failed to fill up the relevant entry. That is what he sought to rectify. Refusing the prayer, this Court after a careful examination of the process to fill up and submit an application form held: "10. In Ashutosh Kumar Srivastava (Supra) also prayer was for granting an opportunity to rectify the incorrect entries made by the petitioners in their online application form of ATRE-2019. It was further prayed that respondents be directed to consider the claim of the petitioner for selection on the basis of original education testimonials. After considering various Hon'ble Division Bench and Hon'ble Supreme Court Judgments rendered in the cases of Km. Archana Rastogi Vs. State of U.P. And others 2012 (3) ADJ 219, Km. Richa Pandey V. Examination Regulatory Authority and Another decided on 18.02.2014, Ram Manohar Yadav V. State of U.P. And 3 others decided on 30.05.2013, Arti Verma V. State of U.P. And 2 others, Kanchan Bala & 172 Ors. V. State of U.P. & 4 Ors., Jai Karan Singh and 52 others Vs. State of U.P. And 4 others and Karnataka Public Service Commission and Ors. Vs. B.M. Vijaya Shankar and Ors. reported in AIR 1992 SC 952, the petition was dismissed. I do not wish to burden my judgment by quoting or referring to them again. However, paragraphs 18 and 20 of Ashutosh Kumar Srivastava (Supra) are quoted as under:- "18. In so far as the cases cited by the learned counsel for the petitioners are concerned, the same will not help the petitioners since in large number of cases observations were duly made by different Division Benches of this Court that in case any mistake was committed by the candidates during the course of examination, the writ court will not interfere in the matter. 20. The error committed by the candidates cannot be said to be human in nature. The petitioners should have read the instructions that were issued time and again and should have correctly filled the entries relating to the marks obtained by them in their previous examinations. The contention that this was an error committed by the Computer Operator cannot simply be accepted. If the Courts were to accept such a plea of the petitioners, then this would result in a situation where the petitioners would get the benefit of a wrong if the wrong claim went unnoticed and if noticed the petitioners could always turn around and claim that this was a result of a human error. Each candidate necessarily must bear the consequences of his failure to fill up the application form correctly. From perusal of the record, I am of the opinion that the error/errors committed by the petitioners are neither minor nor are human error/errors." (Emphasis Supplied) 11. Insofar as the observation of Hon'ble Division Bench in Raghuvendra Pratap Singh (Supra) is concerned, the same are of no help to the petitioner as admittedly, the question of claim of Shiksha Mitras to grant benefit of weightage in the 1981 Rules was under consideration and, thus, the said judgment turns on its own facts and is clearly not applicable in this case in the light of the facts of this case and the issue involved herein. Insofar as claiming the benefit of horizontal reservation under the Physically Handicapped Quota is concerned, this column always existed in recruitment process and once it has not been claimed at the initial stage, the petitioner cannot be permitted to claim reservation under the special category, provision for disclosure whereof was provided at the initial stage itself." 59. This Court must remark here that the decisions in Ashutosh Kumar Srivastava (supra) and Ramhari Gurjar (supra) squarely apply on facts and principle. 60. This Court has elaborated the bold and resounding caution administered to candidates at the pre-submission stage of the application forms about ensuring accuracy of the entries relating to the particulars filled up there. To recapitulate briefly, the caution is carried in the Government Order dated 01.12.2018, on the basis of which the present recruitment process commenced. There is again a clear instruction mentioned in the advertisement dated 05.12.2018. Most of all, the online application form carries a dynamic mechanism where a candidate after filling up all entries, is required to take out a print and compare the entries made in the online application form with his original documents. He has been obliged to make a declaration that he has cross-checked the entries in the printout, compared it with his original documents and certifies them to be accurate. There is then a specific undertaking given at the time of finally uploading the form online that the candidate will not have any opportunity to seek rectification or correction to the application form, finally submitted. 61. This Court has noticed the details of this meticulous procedure earlier, and also, the fact that there are guidelines that show that until final submission of the form, there is all opportunity to rectify, amend and correct. 62. In matters of public affairs, like the process of recruitment to posts under the State, there has to be an element of certainty. The process of recruitment must proceed on the foundation of firm and reliable data. A public recruitment cannot be permitted to be a shaky affair with shifting positions of aspirants about their candidature. If this were to be permitted, it would introduce uncertainties in the recruitment process leading to its embarrassment. It has also to be borne in mind that where a number of posts have to be filled up, expeditious conclusion of the recruitment process requires an unhassled and unhindered course to be run. It is bearing, thus, objectives all legitimate, in mind that the candidates have been held bound down by the entries they make in the application forms. This cannot be permitted to be set at naught by falling back upon the rather out of place consideration for 'human error'. There is an added feature about those cases where mistake is an omission to claim a reservation category. The process of recruitment has gone ahead, where 1,46,060 candidates have been selected in the written examination held by the Examination Regulatory Authority, U.P., Prayagraj. The next stage of recruitment, that is, counselling is underway or completed, in the hands of the Basic Shiksha Parishad. The Basic Shiksha Parishad had published a notification for the purpose way-back on 16.05.2020 and initiated the process of final selection. To permit a candidate at this stage to claim a reservation category, which he/she has omitted to mention in the online application form, would introduce a new aspirant in the concerned reservation pool, and in all probability may lead to displacement of a candidate, already selected. It would work grave injustice and inequity. 63. I had occasion to consider the issue about rectification to an application form relating to the present examination, where the error sought to be corrected was about an unclaimed reservation category, in Writ - A No. 4552 of 2020, Deepti Singh vs. State of U.P. and 2 others, decided on 23.06.2020. In Deepti Singh (supra), it was held: "This Court has keenly considered the matter. It is true that the mistake on the petitioner's part of not mentioning her horizontal reservation category may be inadvertent but the terms and conditions in the form do not permit the petitioner to reform the same later on, once she has filled up and submitted the examination form, without claiming something as important as a reservation category. A reservation category is one that places the petitioner in a special selection pool of 2% candidates. Once the recruitment process has gone ahead, a selectee in that pool whose result has been declared or on way would be disturbed because the petitioner now makes her claim, if permitted. This kind of a late reform of the petitioner's candidature entitling her to seek selection under a reservation category cannot be permitted in the opinion of this Court." 64. In view of what has been said above, this Court does not find any good ground to interfere. 65. In the result, these writ petitions fail and are dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.
O R