Why is MPSC in such a hurry?

Everyone was taken by surprise when the Commission suddenly announced its intention to conduct the controversial Civil Services examination of 2016 afresh, after the High Court of Manipur quashed the results leading to the termination of the services of those who were appointed in various services on the basis of the controversial results.

The much maligned Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC) is once again in the news. Everyone was taken by surprise when the Commission suddenly announced its intention to conduct the controversial Civil Services examination of 2016 afresh, after the High Court of Manipur quashed the results leading to the termination of the services of those who were appointed in various services on the basis of the controversial results.

The High Court had also ordered an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the conduct of the said 2016 examinations. The state government and the terminated officers had also filed a review petition challenging the very basis of the High Court order quashing the results of the said examination.

It may be recalled here that, the Honourable High Court of Manipur had quashed the results on the basis of the report of a two-man inquiry constituted by it to probe the conduct of the examinations.

As debates started on whether MPSC would be able to conduct a clean examination given its past record of controversies, the MPSC authority suddenly declared its intention to conduct the Civil Services examinations afresh within November this year with a promise that there would be total transparency and new examination techniques would be introduced to make it controversy free.

People always look up to who is making the promise of a clean examination and the integrity of the Chairman and the Members of the Commission are always up for a microscopic examination. The present Chairman retired Lieutenant General LN Singh seems to be an upright gentleman and everyone poses faith in a military person given the legacy left behind by the celebrated Colonel Haobam Bhubon Singh during his tenure as a Chairman of the Commission.

Now it seems, the Commission has not consulted the state government before declaring its intention to conduct the 2016 Civil Services examination afresh and notifying it in public, as the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division), Government of Manipur has asked the MPSC to suspend the mains examination, 2016 to avoid violation of lockdown protocols under Section 55 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 as per the advice of the Law Department.

The MPSC is an autonomous body which advises the state government on service matters and conducts civil services examinations or other recruitments as mandated by the state government. Yet, it still remains an arm of the government in deciding policy matters. So, questions as to how it jumped the gun on deciding fresh examinations of the MCSCCE 2016 without consulting the state government and even when a review petition challenging the High Court order is very much there, has to naturally come up.

The Kuki Students’ Organization General Headquarters besides others have cautioned the MPSC not to conduct the Civil Services 2016 mains examinations until the completion of CBI enquiry and MPSC cleanses itself. After prolonged enquiry, on September 2, through its letter, the CBI suggested MPSC to lay down proper procedures for evaluation and tabulation of answer sheets or books as per the MPSC (Procedure & Conduct of Business) Rules 2011 while laying down proper procedures regarding the engagement of lecturers etc for transparent scrutiny of answer scripts after evaluation by examiners including maintenance of records, showing the total number of answer scripts and subjects handed over for scrutiny with date and time of handing over to each lecturer and also date and time of return.

Whatever be the promise and the measures undertaken, we all must understand that whomsoever the Chairman or the members be, the machinery behind it is all the same. To be very clear, the supporting staff is the same. Unless, there is a complete overhaul of the MPSC system controversies will continue. This is exactly what the general public is trying to point out. Yet, the policy decision to conduct examinations or not remain with the Chairman and the members in consultation with the state government. Why is the Chairman in such a hurry to finish the recruitment within November this year? Is it because he is retiring that month?

First Published:Sept. 8, 2020, 7:16 a.m.
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