'We appeal to avoid further destruction of the futures of aspiring candidates and the society as a whole'

An Open Letter to Manipur Public Service Commission: We would like to highlight, for the benefit of the public, certain information which did not find space in the press release.

Respected Mr. Secretary (MPSC),

At the outset, we would like to acknowledge the clarifications issued by your office in the press release No. 7/1/2016-MPSC (DR) dated 26.08.2020. However, we would like to highlight, for the benefit of the public, certain information which did not find space in the press release.

First of all, the primary reason cited by your office for conducting the exam is because the ‘Hon’ble Supreme Court had declined to grant relief to MPSC and had directed MPSC to hold the Mains examination…’ (para 3) and ‘to avoid legal complicacies’ (para6). But it has been left out in your press release, that the same judgments of the courts are currently being challenged by the Government of Manipur through the Secretary (Dept of Personnel Administrative Reforms) and a few candidates through Review Petitions in Hon’ble High Court (MC (Review Petition)(3-12/2020)). It has reached the discussion stage and the MPSC has been served notice by dasti. It may be reminded that the Review Petition is filed on discovery of new facts unearthed through RTI (Right To Information) received from MPSC that children of both the members of the Second Enquiry Commission, upon which both the judgments of Hon’ble High Court dated 18.10.2019 and the Hon’ble’ Supreme Court dated 22.11.2019 were solely based upon, are unsuccessful candidates in the same MCSCCE 2016 (Prelims). The Second Enquiry Commission, whose integrity is being challenged, was formed on 20.11.2017 by a Ld. Single Bench. It is requested that the matter which is sub-judice may also be given its due attention for a just conclusion.

As informed citizens, we are also aware of the recent rulings of the Supreme Court to proceed with the conduct of various important exams. And we respect those rulings. But one distinction which needs to be made is that these exams are yearly exams for which Page schedules have been fixed well before the onset of the pandemic, whereas the schedule of the MCSCCE 2016 re-exam was set amidst the most crucial stage of the pandemic (community spread) in our state.

Coincidentally, it is also observed that the tight timeline of the re-exam coincides with the retirement of the current respected Chairman, MPSC in November, 2020.

It may also be recalled that the judgments of Hon’ble High Court dated 18.10.2019 and the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 22.11.2019 observed numerous lapses of the MPSC which led to the fiasco that was MCSCCE- 2016. It is an undisputed fact that none of the lapses and irregularities which have been observed in the conduct of the MCSCCE 2016 are attributable to the successful candidates. They have been solely attributed to the MPSC. Most importantly, the courts observed the lack of detailed Rules & Regulations due to which MPSC undertook many discretionary actions in the said exam: the lack of rules was used by MPSC to justify the controversial timeline of evaluation of answer papers, the absence of scaling/moderation, the absence of signatures of supervisors, the number of answer papers an evaluator can evaluate in a day, the absence of proper scrutiny etc. In our humble knowledge, there are no new corrected rules in the public domain. It is believed that to read only the last line of a Supreme Court judgment, and ignoring all the arguments which led to that conclusion is a very narrow interpretation of both the judgments and will only invite controversy. It is our firm belief that all the lapses and irregularities observed by both the Hon’ble Courts should be rectified first and then examined by a court-appointed committee before proceeding any further for the sake of the of the aspirants. We appreciate the effort on the part of MPSC to infuse technology in the examination process but then this should also be subjected to the wisdom of this court-appointed committee.

In the light of the points mentioned above, and the surprising act of MPSC filing a case (SLP) in the Supreme Court to stop the CBI investigation which will help uncover the corruption in the exam, can the public be confident that MPSC’s house is in order and be assured that the re-exam won’t be conducted perfunctorily? To our humble understanding, the Hon’ble Courts have not fixed a timeline, and the re-exam is to be held after all necessary rectifications.

The MPSC has summarily stated the CBI investigation as being ‘delinked’ from the re-exam, we only know that in the SLP filed by the selected candidates and dismissed, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has not commented on the CBI investigation, whereas the SLP filed later by the MPSC limited to CBI investigation is still pending.

To the selected candidates, the CBI investigation is a ray of hope to uncover the persons responsible for the misdeeds in MCSCCE 2016 and finally be at least free from the undue slandering and stigmatization faced by innocent candidates. Questions also lingers in the mind of the public as to what will happen if the same officials of MPSC conducting the re-exam are found to be corrupt by the CBI? Are we to indulge in another round of litigations?

The MPSC has single-handedly destroyed the lives and careers of entire generations of aspirants and there hasn’t been even a mere apology to the public. For an aspirant it is the years of hard work, the fruits of their toils, livelihoods, dignity, and hope snatched away from innocent candidates because of failures of MPSC. It cannot be undone by passing off the colossal mess of an exam as a one-off event, when so many lives and families lay ruined and stigmatized for no discernible fault of their own. It would take visible substantive measure to assure aspirants and candidates. We appeal to your good sense to pause and kindly think before another mistake is made again and avoid further destruction of the futures of aspiring candidates and the society as a whole.

Yours sincerely,
(Association for MCSCCE 2016 Selected Candidates)


First Published:Aug. 27, 2020, 8:39 p.m.