[Nellie N Manpoong]
NAHARLAGUN, Nov 14: In a small yet significant development for the candidates battling in court, the Itanagar permanent bench of the Gauhati High Court has ordered Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) to constitute an independent inquiry committee to look into the alleged anomalies in 22 subjects of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Combined Competitive (Prelims) Examination (APPSCCE) 2017-18.
The court on Wednesday ordered that an independent committee (with not less than five members) be constituted under the supervision of the RGU vice chancellor, and directed that the committee submit its report within 45 days.
The court here heard the arguments placed by the counsels for the commerce candidates and 221 candidates of various other subjects, and the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC).
It observed that the APPSC has “done half exercise” in submitting its report on disposing of the grievances of the candidates, and that prima facie, the court was not satisfied.
In the interest of fairness, the court also said that the two experts (from RGU and IGG, Tezu) whose opinions were earlier sought by the commerce candidates should not be part of the expert committee.
In the meantime, the advocate general sough that the state government be made party to the case in “public interest.”
He said the state should be made party to the case as the government funds the state examinations and delay in conducting examination affects public administration as several vacancies have to be filled up.
He said the state government’s interlocutory application for impleading should not be taken as ‘adverse litigation’ and is only to assist the court.
The chief secretary has been impleaded on behalf of the state and will be party in the next hearing, scheduled for 7 January.
While the commerce and other subjects’ candidates said they were pleased that one of their pleas has been considered by the court, the protesting qualified candidates said this was what they had been “fearing all along.”
Speaking to this daily while continuing their protest at IG Park here on Wednesday night, one of the candidates said: “If the expert committee finds anomalies in the question papers – which we are sure they will – then the entire exam process may be scrapped. It means that we may have to write the prelims for the third time.”
Another candidate said the primary motive of their agitation was to convince the APPSC not to keep the candidates in a state of uncertainty and not to conduct the exam in an atmosphere which was not conducive when the matter was sub-judice in the court.
“We did not want to appear for the mains twice; which is why we wanted its postponement. Now we may have to appear for the prelims for the third time,” he added.
On the state government being party to the case, the candidates said if the state’s involvement brings a logical solution to the matter “then we have no problem” and would observe the state’s role in the case before making any further comments.
They also said they would continue their agitation till the last day of the examination, which is scheduled to conclude on 20 November.