MPSC propose re-examination is not justified

Bikram Singh Chandam *

Inviting public response on MPSC's plan to hold MCSCCE-2016 during Oct' & Nov' 2020 before waiting for the conclusion of the much sought after CBI enquiry, that also amidst the COVID -19 pandemic scare is not going to deliver justice to the aspirants

A mad rush is seen on the part of a very much determined MPSC to hold MCSCCE 2016 main examination during Oct & Nov 2020 by misinterpreting Hon'ble High Court's order dt 18th Oct' 2019 and ensuing Supreme Court order on CBI enquiry in their favour, before waiting for the conclusion of the much sought after CBI enquiry, that also amidst the Covid-19 pandemic scare, vide its,-
(i) notification dt 14th Aug' 2020 issued for conduct of the exam,
(ii) memorandum dt 26th Aug' 2020 issued in response to the voice raised by three students' body viz: DESAM, AIMS and ANSAM demanding conduct of the exam after conclusion of the CBI enquiry & punishments thereof, to be meted out to the erring staff, and
(iii) notification dt 27th Aug' 2020 issued for online submission of forms from midnight of 28th Aug' 2020 to midnight of 13th Sept' 2020:

It's noteworthy to mention here that the Hon'ble High Court had, under the direction of the Hon'ble Supreme Court quashed the said main exam after making due confirmation of the most grievous and severe form of mark-tempering committed en-masse:

The Hon'ble High Court, vide page No. 151 of its verdict dt 18th Oct' 2019 had, after quashing the main exam further ordered thus,-
"However, it is open to the MPSC to conduct the main exam 2016 quite afresh after due notice being given to the candidates. The CBI, New Delhi is directed to investigate into the conduct of the main exam 2016 by the MPSC, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of the judgement and order and take appropriate actions thereafter in accordance with law":

The verdict of the Hon'ble Supreme court in response to a Spl leave petition made against the order of the Hon'ble High court runs thus,-
"Based on the report of the Commission, the judgement order is passed which cannot be said to be erroneous. We find from the report of the Commission that sufficient material is gathered through investigation in transparent manner.

Illegalities committed go to the root of the matter which vitiates the entire process of the selection. Hence, the Spl leave petitions are dismissed. The selected candidates shall be permitted to appear in the examination afresh. The objection regarding to overage should not be raised. We make it clear that we have not committed anything with regard to CBI investigation. We hope that the MPSC will hold the main exam afresh as early as possible":

After all these ruckus of mark-tempering that occurred in the most grievous manner resulting to series of tedious Court cases and ultimate quashing of the main exam, MPSC should realise what the general public really expected from them, to be free from any sort of misgivings in future:

Leave alone the Court cases, they should make attempts to cleanse themselves by making internal enquiries and weed-out all those culprits involved in the crime from within, by way of awarding deterrent punishments, whomsoever had caused the en-masse mark tempering, with a view to gain public confidence:

Instead, the MPSC is playing a cover-up plan as explained below,-
(i) MPSC has misinterpreted the verdict of the Hon'ble High Court on CBI enquiry thereby, arising the need of a fresh petition for seeking strict interpretation of the verdict,- The Hon'ble High Court quashed the main exam and ordered the same to be conducted quite afresh and consequently ordered a CBI enquiry for taking appropriate actions. It clearly signifies that the fresh exam should be conducted after the conclusion of the CBI enquiry in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

Why should the Hon'ble High Court order a CBI enquiry if wrongdoers are not to be weeded out before conducting the fresh exam ? Should the Hon'ble High Court entrust the fate of the Civil Service aspirants again to the hands of the same culprits who had committed the most grievous form ot mark-tempering en-masse which is on record ?

(ii) MPSC has also misinterpreted the verdict of the Hon'ble Supreme Court on CBI enquiry thereby, arising the need of a fresh petition for seeking strict interpretation of the verdict ,-
The Hon'ble Supreme Court had, while dismissing the SLP filed by the MPSC against the order of the Hon'ble High Court, simply stated that they do not commit anything regarding CBI enquiry and as the honb'le High Court had already stated for early conduct of the main exam, the Hon'ble Supreme Court also reiterated the same verdict for early conduct of the exam.

The Apex Court's order did not give any sort of negation to the ensuing CBI enquiry ordered by the Hon'ble High Court. One thing which is quite clear is that, the Hon'ble Supreme Court did not allow their pleas,- i.e. relief sought against quashing of the main exam and the plea to forgo CBI enquiry. That is why the CBI enquiry is very much in progress as per hon'ble High Court's order as of now.

Hence, the claim made by the MPSC in the 4th stanza of its memorandum dt 26th Aug' 2020 i.e. "the Hon'ble Supreme Court had delinked CBI enquiry from the conduct of the main exam" is quite derogatory and highly contemptuous thereby, arising the need for a fresh petition seeking strict interpretation of the verdict.

Therefore, the MPSC should stop their calculated move to conduct the main exam before waiting for the finality of the ensuing CBI enquiry forthwith. Otherwise, a fresh writ petition is liable to be filed "seeking for a strict interpretation of the Hon'ble High Court's order dt 18th Oct'2019 on CBI enquiry, which was not negated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court" at all.

(iii) The statement made in the 1st stanza of its memorandum dt 26th Aug' 2020 i.e. "The decision taken by the MPSC to hold MCSCCE 2016 main exam afresh is misunderstood by a few brothers and sisters is very unfortunate" shows MPSC's total disregard towards people's voice based on reason.

Because, the voice of three State level students' bodies viz,- (i) DESAM, (ii) AIMS and (iii) ANSAM published in the Sangai Express daily on 24th Aug' 2020 and one State level students' body viz,- (iv) ATSUM published in the Sangai Express daily on 30th Aug' 2020 and views published in the Editorial of the Sangai Express daily, two times on 26th Aug' 2020 and 28th Aug' 2020 expressing their desire to hold the exam after completion of the ensuing CBI enquiry and befitting punishments meted out to the culprits who committed the crime of mark-tempering is quite reasonable, which can not merely be termed as representing the voice of only a few people as the MPSC has erroneously claimed:

(iv) The statement made by the MPSC in the 3rd stanza of its memorandum dt 26th Aug' 2020 that "Supreme Court Judgement is implying all the 1130 candidates who cleared prelims to be given the opportunity for appearing in the mains exam to be conducted quite afresh" is also a loft-sided interpretation.

The Supreme Court judgememt never meant those few candidates, if any, who backed-out at a certain stage of the exam to be given a further opportunity because the re-examination should mean only for the 1069 candidates who physically appeared in the main examination and whose exam was quashed later on by an order of the Hon'ble High Court, in pursuance of the principles of natural justice.

So, where does the 61 odd candidates who already backed-out at a certain stage of the exam fit-in unless there is an ulterior motive on the part of the MPSC ? Can the MPSC produce a strict interpretation of the Hon'ble Supreme Court's verdict in this regard, as claimed in favour of the 61 odd candidates ? Therefore, the MPSC should never interpret Hon'ble Supreme Court's judgement on presumption. Their claim which is based on presumption also needs a strict interpretation of the verdict from the Hon'ble Court:

(v) The statement made by the MPSC in the 4th stanza of its memorandum dt 26th Aug' 2020 stating,- "In order to instill fairness and transparency, new technologies like On-screen evaluation system, Bar-coding of answer papers etc. etc. are to be introduced" will forever remain a tall claim on the part of the MPSC unless the culprits involved in the mark-tempering case on record, who occupied big big positions in the examination section of the MPSC are still allowed to escape scott-free for the commission of another round of mark-tempering:

(vi) Statements made by the MPSC in the 5th stanza of its memorandum dt 26th Aug' 2020, making comparison of one day's short duration examinations like NEET, JEE, NDA and Naval academy, with long duration examinations like the MCSCCE-2016 which would probably take more than 30 days is also a very much loft-sided claim.

MCSCCE-2016 covers 8 papers viz,- (1) English 300 marks, (2) Essay 300 marks, (3) 1st Optional subject 1st paper 300 marks, (4) 1st Optional subject 2nd paper 300 marks, (5) 2nd Optional subject 1st paper 300 marks, (6) 2nd Optional subject 2st paper 300 marks, (7) GS 1st paper 300 marks and (8) GS 2nd paper 300 marks, along with a viva-voce that carries 200 marks.

Six non- BJP ruled states have even moved the Supreme Court of India against the conduct of such one day's short duration exams like JEE & NEET in the midst of the ongoing pandemic Covid-19 scare.

Therefore, holding of long duration exams like the MCSCCE-2016 at the present juncture would require a threadbare discussion of experts with a view to have a serious rethinking of the issue otherwise, who will be responsible if holding of the examination invites the creation of a breeding ground for Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides that, the people of Manipur are always expecting a corruption-free MPSC to be able to hold such long cherished civil service examinations, which will only be materialised if the MPSC waits for the conclusion of the much sought after CBI enquiry with a view to weed-out the culprits who committed the grievous mark-tempering act on record, before the conduct of the main examination.

* Bikram Singh Chandam wrote this article for Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on September 07 2020.

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