The APPSC has defined the syllabus for optional subjects in the APPSCCE prelims as “the standard and syllabi of the subjects are approximately those of degree level course of the Indian universities.” The word ‘approximately’ doesn’t mean that the standard of questions would be strictly of graduate level. It categorically means that the standards of questions can be of graduate as well as postgraduate level.
The word ‘approximately’ doesn’t mean ‘below’ or ‘exactly’; it means ‘roughly’. For example, when someone says that his or her weight is approximately 75 kgs, it doesn’t mean that it is exactly or below 75 kgs. It means that it may be more than 75 kgs also. The person is not misguiding anyone or stating a lie. On this basis, the claim of so called ‘out-of-syllabus questions’ in the prelims optional paper doesn’t hold much ground. This is what was exactly followed in the UPSC prelims optional papers also. The questions that were given were both of graduate and postgraduate levels. That was the actual norm followed every year by the UPSC itself.
However, with all due respect, the commission itself in Arunachal mayn’t be fully aware, or perhaps it has gone out of their notice. I don’t know about the validity of other arguments, but the claim of ‘out-of-syllabus questions’ is really questionable from the APPSCCE/civil service exams perspectives.
The exams conducted by the public service commissions and the universities aren’t the same. They have their own norms, rules and the nuances. Anyway, all we can do is wait for the verdict. If the litigants feel that they have been wronged by the high court, they should feel absolutely free to move to the Supreme Court. And if the verdict is not given in the favour of the APPSC, they shouldn’t surrender themselves before anybody’s pressure. They should maintain their independence as a constitutional body and shouldn’t hold themselves back from going to the apex court’s shelter, lest a wrong precedent is set. Most of us are trying to exploit the situation to our best advantage anyway, instead of doing the right thing for all.