The latest conference organized by All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) “Insights Discussion on APPSC Fiasco and Reformation” is the most disheartening development in the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) scam issue. The AAPSU was leading from the front until the AE civil paper leakage case was resolved, but has since then distanced itself gradually from the movement, now led by Pan Arunachal Joint Steering Committee- APPSC (PAJSC-APPSC) and All Nyishi Students’ Union (ANSU).
As known from the outset, AAPSU was consulted by the PAJSC-APPSC on their 13 charter of demands and AAPSU had ensured their support though with some reservations. However, absence of AAPSU from the 3rd December 2022 mass referendum rally and the recent 12 hour bandh call of 27th December 2022 signaled their deviation from the movement.
The whole argument of AAPSU not supporting the null and void demand is unsettling. The AAPSU’s argument of genuine candidates losing out on their fruit of hard work due to null and void is misinformed and a narrow perspective. The whole point of null and void is lost of trust in the APPSC as a recruitment agency.
The UPSC or SPSCs are independent constitutional bodies established under Articles 315 to 323 of the Constitution of India. The very mandate of the UPSC or SPSC is to act as “the watchdog of merit system.” Their role is to ensure that the standard of bureaucracy is maintained by allowing equal and fair chance to each candidate.
When the very institution entrusted to act as the watchdog of merit is causing annihilation of merit, how can there be any trust in any of the results published by the Commission (APPSC). How is this not a breach of trust by the public institution?
For any institution to function and have credibility that too, a constitutional one, highest degree of probity and trust must be observed by it. The very credibility of an institution is built on the sanctity and public trust it commands.
APPSU’s opposition to null and void based on genuine candidates is bogus. How can there be debate of genuineness when not just question papers were sold but the marks itself were tampered. A mere UDC (Taket Jerang) with absolutely no subject expertise was evaluating the award sheets of different exams. How can one candidate tell for sure if the next candidate was not as equally deserving as him/her or if one was even supposed to be in the merit list? How can one relatively measure the violation of right to livelihood under Article 21, right to equality under Article 14 & right to equality of opportunity in public employment under Article 16 of the thousand candidates that had equal fighting chance in the exams? On what metrics AAPSU and its supporters measure the relative deprivation of the thousands to mere hundreds?
How is it not a fair solution that all those who sat for the exam under compromised conditions be allowed to reappear again? How is a candidate now serving in the government getting in through a rigged exam process where his/her equals weren’t given equal fighting chance, being asked to appear for the same, an unfair demand?
Are the PAJSC-APPSC & aspirants asking that jobs of the serving be given to them?
No. All that they are saying is that the exams were compromised and everyone had equal chance of getting in, had the exams been fair. All that they are demanding is for a level playing field again where each one who got the unfair benefits consciously or unconsciously and those who were deprived deliberately or accidentally be given the chance to compete again. How is this unfair by any means?
When AAPSU uses “mass suicide” of those absorbed in service to defend their argument, do they deliberately wish to ignore the years of humiliation, self-doubt and hardwork of the thousands of other applicants? Does the inconvenience of the few who got into service in unfair settings in the first place measure equally to the collective suffering of the thousands?
Is ensuring rebuilding of public trust in the APPSC important or sheltering the few who they claim are fair in an unfairly conducted exam process?
The argument put forth by AAPSU sounds ill-informed and hollow. Given the latest reveal of the scam and further unraveling of the scam, if the AAPSU stands with their resolution it only reflects poorly on the organization. It shows how they do not understand how important the sanctity of an institution and meritocracy is, what they put at stake while sticking to their resolution.
It is a lose-lose situation for both the AAPSU an institution with a legacy and the PAJSC-APPSC fighting for a clean APPSC. The PAJSC-APPSC loses the support of the most important pressure group which could add much weight to the movement with their organizational structure of district students’ unions (DSUs) & branch students’ unions (BSUs). Their support could help immensely in securing the future and the right to dream of the many young Arunchalees of today and the future.
AAPSU loses its credibility as an apex organization known to take the tougher stand, when it has chosen to play safe. This could be seen as lack of clarity of the impact of the scam and presence of vested interests in the apex organization by the public at large.