Citing pandemic hassles, HC orders PSC to extend validity of a few rank lists

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Kochi: The Kerala High Court has held that the validity of Kerala Public Service Commission rank lists should have been extended by at least 3 months as vacancies could not be reported as the COVID-19 pandemic raged.

The court has directed the PSC to extend the rank lists, mentioned in the cases, to three months from the date on which these expired. And also to consider the claims of the petitioners over the vacancies reported during this period.

The PSC should take action within two months.

The government had extended the validity of various rank lists that expired from February 5, 2021, to August 3 till August 4, 2021. But while alleging that this was not done uniformly and that some lists got only two months, the candidates approached the Kerala Administrative Tribunal (KAT) and High Court.

Candidates who were on the various rank lists such as that of the last-grade servant, woman constable, health service nurse (Grade- 2), HSA Arabic (Kasaragod), and HSA Science (Malappuram) had filed petitions. But the KAT and the High Court single bench rejected their pleas.

The division bench, comprising Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and C P Mohammed Nias, has now passed the order on their appeal. The division bench also cancelled the orders of the HC single bench and KAT.

What the division bench said

The division bench stated that if the vacancies could not be reported due to unusual circumstances, the PSC has the authority to extend the list from 3 months to 1.5 years, as per Rule 13 (5). “Accordingly, it should be extended by at least three months and advice memos should be sent over the vacancies that come up during this period,” the court said.

“The period during which the vacancies were not reported should have been excluded from the actual duration of the list. If so, the validity could have been extended by 6 months at least. The candidates’ plea for extending the validity of the list by at least 3 months is valid,” the HC division bench added.

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