The Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) is duty bound to select the most capable and deserving persons, for manning the civil services with a pledge to exercise utmost impartiality, objectivity and efficiency in accomplishing its tasks in a time bound manner. The Public Service Commission has, however, over the years been a nightmare for the candidates and its performance has been on the decline for quite some time now. The combined competitive service examination, 2016, is turning out to be a big joke for the aspirants with the JKPSC virtually making mockery of this prestigious competitive examination. When the result of the preliminary examination was declared, serious discrepancies were found and the commission’s hollow vow to be fair was greatly exposed. There were huge mistakes in the evaluation of the answer scripts of the candidates. For example, those candidates who had answered Morley Minto reforms were introduced in 1908 were awarded marks and those who responded with 1909 were rejected. Similarly, the study of oncology known as ‘mountains’ was held to be correct; there were many more such blunders. This is sheer callousness and an utter reflection of the failure of the commission to proceed in a just manner. Thanks to the media, especially the print media , after a voice raised by some, the commission was forced to come up with a revised key. The revised key was bound to change the merit given the wrong evaluation done by the JKPSC.
Some 429 candidates who were declared to be qualified as per the first key were expunged from the list and new 429 candidates were included when the commission came up with a revised key. However, there was no action taken against the Commission for this unprecedented and unpardonable blunder. In the mean time, there was already a loss of almost a month’s time to those candidates who were declared to be qualified as per the revised key. Pertinently, the 429, who were shown the door, as per the revised key, went to the court of law and initiated a legal battle with the JKPSC. With utter disregard to the sufferings of the candidates and the court orders, the commission came up with a date sheet for the Main exam but, somehow, the agonized candidates, with the help of intervention from various political quarters, managed the postponement of the said examination till 15 Feb. Meanwhile, the 429 candidates continued their battle in the court and ultimately, just before the main examination they were given the interim relief by the Honourable Court and as such the commission had no option but to allow them to sit in the examination. Ironically, these candidates have now just one week to prepare for the main examination. A lot of people, besides the aggrieved candidates, are asking whose mistake it was to push them to the court?
After all, they can’t be punished for the blunders of the JKPSC. It is against ethics and natural justice to force them to sit in the examination with just few days remaining till the main commencement of the examination. On the other hand, with the inclusion of the 429 candidates, the merit has one again changed and there are some more 2300 candidates who fall in the new merit and they are also looking forward to drag the commission to the court. Amidst all this mess, the commission is least bothered and they are hell bent to go ahead with the main examination.
There is a strong view that the result of the preliminary examination would be altogether quashed by the court. If this is the case, what is the point of conducting the examination and forcing the students to toe the line of the JKPSC? Who would be responsible if the result of the preliminary examination is quashed? The aspiring candidates are in a mood to appear in such an examination the result of which rests more with the court verdict than their actual performance in the said examination. Not only this, the commission is also Constitutionally bound to provide equal opportunity and a level playing field to all the aspiring candidates. But, the commission is forcing candidates from the valley to appear in the sub zero temperatures and seemingly doing a deliberate attempt to benefit certain, even some students who are supposed to appear in Srinagar are stranded in Jammu with the road closed and the Air fare touching the sky .
It is rightly said that injustice arises as much by treating equals unequally as much by treating unequal’s equally. There are several polls going on social media, day in and day out; the agonized candidates are forced to come on the streets to protest against the Commission and meeting politicians of all parties but commission is having no sympathy with the candidates. This is totally unprecedented and unacceptable to society as a whole. The Public Service Commission is doing a great disservice to the state by depriving merit and forcing its will. The question can be asked that if the commission has waited so long why can’t it wait for some more time to get the litigations addressed by the court, at least, to prevent itself from being in contempt of court. As such, there is a serious need for the said examination be postponed. This will also allow the new entrants (429) to prepare for the main examination and, in the meantime, the harsh winter will also get over to ensure the equal opportunity to all the candidates. Many people are asking that why can’t the JKPSC have a definite calendar on the UPSC pattern to conduct various examinations.
There is a set planning and procedure adopted by the UPSC to allow the aspirants to plan their preparations in a decent and cordial manner. The expediency and eagerness shown by the JKPSC raises many questions as to what kind of self goal they are looking for and what kind of authority they are trying to impose upon the poor aspirants. With this attitude and lackadaisical approach, the JKPSC is quickly losing its credibility and objectivity. It seems that the political executive has failed to reign in the commission and prevent it from acting in an arbitrary and careless manner. Interestingly, the assembly is in session but such an important and significant mess of the public service commission is not showing any resonance. All this adds up to suggest that the fiasco seems to be a total scam and there is a popular view on the ground that the irregularities done by the JKPSC in CCS 2016 should be probed and the culprits should be punished for their misdeeds sooner than later. Amidst all this uncertainty, the ray of hope comes from the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. The honourable governor, being a man of integrity, is fervently requested to postpone the mains examination till the court gives its final verdict and the weather improves in the valley. There’s also an urgent need to order a probe to look into the irregularities of the JKPSC and punish the people responsible. Hope sustains life and there’s a hope that the students are not compelled but encouraged and the honourable Governor will certainly give a sympathetic consideration.
—The author can be reached at: [email protected]