I got the opportunity to go through the affidavit submitted by the commission. Some of the arguments put forward by the commission are outright insane, if not saddening and even painful. The commission has probably failed to understand that all these controversies that have been doing the rounds are primarily because of their carelessness.
The commission accepted outright that 49 questions were out of syllabus. Now is this some kind of a joke. Two, three, well even twenty questions would be justified considering it’s a competitive exam and that other papers would also have some which are out of syllabus. But 49? And what argument are they putting forward? That the petitioners are non serious aspirants. I think the commission has got it very wrong here. 1030 applied, probably about 800 appeared, and you mean to say only the three who cleared are serious candidates. You give them questions which are out of syllabus and when they aren’t able to answer them, you call them non-serious aspirants. Well, if this is not cruelty, I don’t know what else to call this. My very own sister is a commerce aspirant. And I know how much hard work she has put in.
The other argument they have put forward is if they were serious aspirants, they would already have begun preparations for mains, and this would have helped them answer questions, as many questions were from the mains syllabus. Now, the prelims syllabus is already vast enough, and it’s up to the aspirants if they decide to start studying after the prelims for mains. I know people who have cleared even after studying for the three month preparation leave one is provided for mains. If you plan to ask so many questions out of syllabus, then the rationale of very syllabus is defeated.
I believe one of the blunders that the commission committed was declaring the result too soon, considering the magnitude of grievance that the commerce students had put forward to the commission. Last year, there were errors in sociology and geography paper. Why weren’t they provided compensatory marks, and results declared. Maybe many of the commerce aspirants who didn’t make the cut this year, would have made it last year. I hope you get what I am trying to opine here. This cannot be called equality nor equity. Considering 49 questions were out of syllabus, I can vouch for the nervousness it must have created in the candidates, which may even have affected his/her answering of in-syllabus questions.
Thus, the question here is not just about compensatory marks. It’s also about the psychological affect it may have had on the candidates giving the test.
Now that the commission has already declared the result, it’s in a fix. But then, there are precedents of state commission qualifying additional numbers on humanitarian grounds. In 2017 J&k high court directed inclusion of candidates in the selected list of prelims result who had earlier been dropped. It surely is up to the court to take the final call, but I for one believe that injustice has surely been done.And finally, the commission must formally declare that next exam onwards, the upsc pattern would be followed. So that aspirants later do not complain that they weren’t given enough time. Inclusion of CSAT and GS would be least controversial and the cycle of exams would remain unaffected.