[ Nellie N Manpoong ]
NAHARLAGUN, Jan 11: The 221 aggrieved candidates who had appeared for the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Combined Competitive (Prelims) Examination (APPSCCE) submitted an additional affidavit to the Itanagar bench of the Gauhati High Court here on Friday against the Arunachal Pradesh Public Commission (APPSC) for alleged corrupt practices, and sought a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the matter.
To justify their claims, the candidates cited instances of anomalies in the APPSCCE (Prelims) 2017-18, as well as previous examinations.
Citing violation of Clause 26 (ii) and (viii) of the APPSC Rules of Procedure & Conduct of Examination Guidelines 2012, the aggrieved candidates informed the court that students of some examination centres were made to sit together on the same bench, which they said provided some candidates the opportunity to communicate with each other and exchange answer keys.
The petitioning candidates managed to obtain the details of the seating arrangements in two of the examination centres – Blue Mount School, Daporijo, and JN College, Pasighat – and claimed that the number of candidates selected from those centres is comparatively higher than those from the other examination centres.
According to the results declared by the APPSC on 2 and 18 August, 2018, a total of 128 candidates qualified from the two examination centres.
The results declared also show that students bearing “simultaneous/alternate roll numbers” qualified to appear for the mains.
“It is a matter to be investigated whether the students bearing alternate roll numbers marked the wrong answers similarly or not,” the petitioning candidates said, and requested thorough investigation by either the expert committee constituted by the court on 14 November, 2018, or an SIT.
Additionally, several other centres have been named in the affidavit.
The candidates also questioned the early result declaration; out-of-syllabus questions; not letting candidates of engineering and mathematics papers use calculators as per rules; anomalies in keeping question papers in a strong room or a confidential room; anomalies in allocating compensatory marks to candidates, etc.
Saying that this was not the first time that anomalies crept in, the candidates requested the court to find the status of the 2014-15 case against the APPSC from the session/trial court to “see the conduct of the commission and take necessary action against the said officials for misuse of power.”
“It’s been four years but still the proceedings of the case is pending in the trial court, and to add, charge sheet under Section 173 CrPC against the FIR… has still not been filed by the investigation officers,” the candidates informed.
During the 2014-15 examination, the general studies Paper-II was allegedly in circulation long before the conduct of examination. The SIT had then alleged that officials had misused their authority and leaked the question papers. An FIR was lodged by the SIT later.
It was also claimed that officials named in conducting the 2014-15 examination were also part of the 2017-18 examination.
The candidates also highlighted the 2009 prelim examination, in which over 2500 students were rejected but were later allowed to appear, after accepting their mistake.
In the 2013 prelim examination, the results of 98 students were withheld citing mistakes in filing their forms, but they were allowed to appear for the mains examination.
The conduct of the APPSC was also highly criticized in the 2012 assistant engineer examination, resulting in destruction of public property.
Highlighting that the commission admitted that there have been anomalies in the question papers which were beyond the control of the commission, the candidates said it was “obviously hard for the commission to make out whether such anomalies are part of any corrupt practices or leakage of question paper, which can only be verified by an SIT.”
They said if the members of the commission are found guilty, direction should be issued for their removal with strict action “for tainting the prestige of the APPSC.”