It came as a big shock for everyone when the majority of appearing candidates boycotted APPSCCE Mains 2018. Let us have a recap on how it all started. Prelims 1.0 was held on 29th Nov 2017 which was cancelled due to issue of mass copy pasting of question papers. Consequently prelims 2.0 was held on 29th July 2018, for which the results were declared in 2 stages. 1st list of accepted candidates was published on 2nd Aug 2018 and the 2nd list was published on 16th Aug 2018.
A writ petition was filed on 28th Aug 2018 by APPSCCE commerce aspirants in the Itanagar bench of Gauhati High Court. They had claimed that more than 100+ questions out of 125 questions were out of syllabus in commerce optional paper. Their claim was backed by HoDs of commerce from Rajiv Gandhi University (Rono Hills) and Indira Gandhi Government College(Tezu). APPSC had later on accepted that 49 questions were totally out of syllabus.
Another writ petition was filed on 27th Sept 2018 by a group of 221 candidates who had appeared prelims with geography, history, civil engineering, law, philosophy, etc as their optional. As per their claims, geography paper had lots of questions copied from NET(JRF) exam 2014, lack of moderation in question paper was seen in civil and law optionals, at least 50 questions in history optional were copied from www. cbsenetuge.com, public administration had 70 questions picked out of a civil service guide book. Even the margin in pass percentage of various subjects was huge. No candidate qualified from statistics, philosophy, mathematics and chemistry, while commerce(0.25%), law(0.77%), physics(0.58%), electrical engineering(0.58%) had a pass percentage of less than 1% each. Some subjects proved to be performing too good in terms of pass percentage of candidates who took those optionals, i.e., animal husbandry and veterinary science(28.57%), agriculture(16.16%) and psychology(9.67%). It looks as if APPSC forgot to perform moderation in 22 optional papers for prelims 2.0 while in a hurry to conduct the exams and repeated the same mistake as in prelims 1.0.
The fate of APPSCCE 2018 rested upon the verdict of Hon’ble HC there onwards. Then as usual, court date kept on stretching without a decisive verdict till 9th Nov 2018 where it stated that APPSCCE mains shall be held as per scheduled and the results shall be kept sealed until the matter is fully resolved. Now here comes the big question, why did Hon’ble court waited till the eve of 9th Nov 2018 to lift the status quo on APPSC Mains 2018? Why did it kept extending the status quo on every hearing? Hon’ble HC could have given a decisive verdict of 31st Oct 2018 yet it extended the status quo till next hearing, i.e, 8th Nov 2018 and it was further extended till 9th Nov 2018. Court failed to understand what impact could an uncertainty in exam date could bring upon the performance of candidates. It failed to understand the grievances of APPSC aspirants who couldn’t perform their best under such uncertainty prevailing over the future of APPSC mains. It failed to understand why is the credibility of APPSC questioned again and again by writ petitions filed by many aspirants. APPSC had not even dispatched admit card of many candidates beforehand and asked them to collect the same on the day of exam. This is not a matter a mere mistake that had occurred once. APPSC has the habit of doing things without putting much thought into it. It advertises various posts, yet fails to conduct their exams in time. Sometimes they fail to update new advertisement in their official website (www.appsc.gov.in) while the link to apply for the same could be found in their application portal (http://appsconline.in). Exact same thing happened with recent advertisement of post of Inspector Legal Metrology and Assistant Jailor. At times APPSC conducts an exam after 4-6 months of advertising it and at times it takes 1-3 years to conduct the exam based on its own whims and fancies.
Dissatisfied with APPSC and the court verdict, many candidates boycotted the APPSC Mains exam on 10th Nov 2018 and it marked the beginning of their fight to reform APPSC. Faced with lathi charge and water cannon, the non violent protest of candidates was forcefully dispersed by police and administration. The event started a chain reaction of protest and many more candidates boycotted the exam and as a result, finally APPSC Mains was boycotted by more than 50% of candidates appearing for it.
On 14th Nov 2018, HC ordered to set up an expert committee under the Vice Chancellor of RGU to look into alleged anomalies in the APPSCCE prelims 2.0 and submit its report within 45 days on 7th jan 2019. On 22nd Nov 2018, RGU had filed an interlocutory application for fund(15 lakhs) in order to constitute the expert committee. On 23rd Dec 2018, APPSC approached the Gauhati HC seeking a double bench against the single bench order of 14th Nov 2018. The commission is accepting that 30 questions of geography, 49 questions of commerce and 3 questions of civil engineering were out syllabus and marks were allotted on a proportionate basis best known to them. APPSC is even claiming that it had constituted 44 subject experts to set paper and 22 subject experts to moderate the paper as well. Now what kind of subjects experts sets out of syllabus questions for any exam? Setting 30-40 out of syllabus questions isn’t a matter of mere accident. Either APPSC is lying about constituting subject experts or it has been fooled by those 66 subject experts. Any person with common sense can tell that there is something fishy going on but only time will unfold where the truth lies in. Why is the commission scared of an independent expert committee under V.C of RGU? Who will believe in the credibility of APPSC’s 66 subject experts that sets 30-40 out of syllabus questions?
APPSC says that fund of 15 lakhs required to constitute independent expert committee as per court order is public money and it cannot be allowed to be spent unless compelling reasons ensue. APPSC has lost its credibility as an independent institution to conduct exams in a free and fair manner. The career of thousands of candidates is at stake. The future of youth of Arunachal Pradesh is on the line. What more compelling reason does it want? It is high time at APPSC accepts the blunder it had committed presents real facts instead of cooking up new stories each time. One more culprit for all these happenings is the presence of optional subject in prelims which plays a very decisive role in selection of candidates for mains. Had it been like UPSC where there is a common paper (CSAT) which is just qualifying in nature instead of an optional paper, all of this might never have happened since GS paper is the only one which counts in merit list.
Arunachal Pradesh is infamously known as ‘Land of Khusi-Khusi’ and this trait can be seen in every walk of our life. Our own state public service commission serves a very good example of it.
It has failed time and again to conduct APPSCCE without any controversy. It’s time for a reformation from the grass root level till the top. Let injustice not be tolerated by any of us and the future generations to come. Let us join our fight against incompetency of APPSC and bring the change we want.