A genuine demand

I would like to share my views on the much debated ‘null and void’ demand in the alleged examination in APPSC scam.
The much-debated ‘null and void’ demand by deprived aspirants in the alleged APPSC examination follows a nefarious APPSC scam. The demand has also been the bone of contention between the apex student organisation of the state and aggrieved, deprived aspirants.
When speaking to the demand of null and void in lleged examination in which malpractices have been found, one is simply triggered by the question: What about the genuine deserving candidates? Or, when the investigating agency is already making every effort to nab the individuals involved in the cash-for-job APPSC scam by charging them according to the law for the adoption of unfair means, what is the point of demanding null and void?
First of all, we must know that this is not only a case or question of genuine deserving or non-genuine deserving candidates, hardworking or less hardworking candidates, meritorious or non-meritorious candidates, selected or non-selected candidates, but of the conduct of all the examinations.
Second, it is not only a question of charging individuals for using unfair means but rather of declaring the alleged examination ineffective for the purpose for which it was held.
In a recent press conference, the SIC SP revealed that Taket Jerang alone used three modus operandi in the entire scam: 1. the selling of question papers 2. Mains exams (blank answer sheets filled outside the examination centre); and 3. Specific answer sheets filled later (for those who failed the exam). It is also believed that Taket Jerang was not even forwarding the answer sheet for evaluation. Rather, he himself was evaluating the answer papers and accordingly providing marks.
Following the multiple arrests of candidates by the investigating agency for cash-for-job in various alleged examinations in the APPSC scam, there is no manner of doubt that it is not in a few cases only that corrupt means were adopted to secure the selection of candidates, but the same modus operandi may have been adopted in all alleged examinations, which vitiated the entire process of selections, and that large-scale corruption, irregularities, manipulation of marks, and other illegalities are clear and obvious in making selections tainted in alleged examinations during his tenure in the commission.
It can also be conceived that he could, indeed, get any one selected who could approach him either through money or through recommendation. It is difficult to say if one could be selected on merit during his tenure. Of course, there are a number of genuine candidates selected on merit as well, but because the whole process of selection has been polluted with corruption, it is not possible to identify them.
Hence, the idea that a genuine, deserving candidate should not be blamed or punished for the misdeeds of others cannot be considered. When the entire selection is stinking, conceived in fraud, and delivered in deceit, individual innocence has no place, as fraud unravels everything. The entire selection of the alleged examination is tainted.
The rules of natural justice are not required to be followed in cases of cancellation of selection that are vitiated due to fraud, manipulation, corruption, or large-scale irregularities and illegalities committed by those responsible for conducting the selection. The applicability of such rules has also been ruled out on the grounds of public policy/public interest or where the process of selection is found to be vitiated by fraud, manipulation, nepotism, or favouritism.
It is not a case where a question of misconduct on the part of a candidate is to be gone into, but a case where those who conducted the examinations have rendered it wholly unacceptable.
However, it may be noted that, in order to mitigate the hardship of the genuine deserving candidates, the government can assure them that candidates who get selected again to the same service will be given their seniority with retrospective effect as if they had joined the service on their earlier appointment/selection. This would be a very fair offer by the government, and no candidate should have any grievances.
Further, it is clear that in the conduct of the examination, a fair procedure has to be adopted. A fair procedure would mean that the candidates taking part in the examination must be capable of competing with each other by fair means. One cannot have an advantage by filling out a blank answer sheet outside the examination centre or by having a foreknowledge of the question paper or otherwise.
We are not here only to determine whether or not the particular candidates have committed any offence by paying money to ensure their selection. Rather, we are demanding a free and fair examination by demanding ‘null and void’ and the re-conduct of an alleged examination if it is found to have any kind of malpractice on the ground that it is vitiated due to fraud, manipulations, and corruption.
Finally, when the entire system of examination had been manipulated by him alone through leakage of question papers, manipulation of answer scripts, and the upgrading of the marks of less meritorious candidates at the expense of more meritorious candidates, we see no reason to dismiss the demands for null and void and the re-conduct of alleged examinations where malpractices have been discovered.