Group of Aspirants
This article is in response to the article “Dangers of ‘Trial by Media’and the MPSC”, written by Mr. Arshad Shah and published in this esteemed newspaper on the 18th of August, 2017.
In the article mentioned above, Mr. Shah mentioned some very misleading points regarding the MCSCC examination, 2016 conducted by the Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC) and our objective here is to dissect those points, lay the whole truth, and not just a sliver of it, before the public.
First off, the writer raised doubts as to the authenticity of the RTI sheets circulated on social media. While a healthy sense of doubt in anything is a sign of an educated mind, the selective perception shown by our learned writer is rather unfortunate. Such a well-informed person would have read in the papers that the Government of Manipur served a legal notice to a local daily for publishing a fake news item ‘Raksha Bandhan Pangthokkadouri’. Would MPSC have remained silent if the Group of Aspirants had cooked up the entire narrative or had forged the images that ‘character assassinated’ it?
Mr. Shah mentioned in his article that the High Court-appointed independent enquiry commission had dismissed the extra paper issue as some of the petitioners had taken extra papers in certain subjects. This smacks of a deep-rooted confirmation bias and is akin to saying that the Holocaust did not happen because some of the Jews survived! Moreover, the commission, in one of its reports, said ‘…this new decision (to issue extra answer sheets) was announced only orally through the invigilators to the candidates about 30 minutes after the actual commencement of the examination’ and ‘…petitioners had enough time to mentally prepare himself/herself to write well with the availing of extra papers’. Why didn’t the commission examine the opposing claim of the disgruntled candidates that no such announcement was made? Why weren’t invigilators approached so that they, as independent witnesses, could reveal the truth?
One also wonders where the writer got the information that there were more examiners this time. According to the affidavit submitted by MPSC itself, only 1 examiner corrected 1063 Essay papers (that too in 14 days, at the rate of 75.9 answer sheets/day!) Either our esteemed writer lacks basic arithmetic skill or he overlooked a glaring error in his hurry to present MPSC in hallowed light and discredit the Group of Aspirants.
It is a heartfelt request, not only to the writer of the article, but to everyone in general, to read the fine print so that we are not subject to selective perception and selective exposure bias. It is known to all that ‘revision of marks is the norm’. What, is also the norm is that there should be signature of the examiner for each time he/she revised the marks allotted. This process was skipped in a few instances, resulting in the doubt if the marks were tampered with or if the papers were not examined by proper examiners. It was also found that the examiner’s signatures on the front sheet of the answer papers were different from those of the examiner’s signature on pages inside the answer sheets at certain instances. Therefore the marks were not allotted by the examiners.
Two significant clarifications need to be made before anyone brushes off the mark tabulation errors as ‘isolated inconsistencies’. First of all, it appears isolated only because MPSC has handed out not more than 40 answer sheets out of the 200+ RTIs filed. Secondly, this is not market research, where one can ignore a few inconsistent or contradictory data; this is a competitive examination, where a single mark matters.
Mr. Shah did rightly point out that this issue needs to be examined by a court of law. We felt the same and have filed a fresh case against MPSC in the High Court of Manipur. However, judging the Group for approaching the media is uncalled for. After the perceived unfairness with which the so- called commission dealt with the issue, we are left with little avenue to continue our fight for the truth but to appeal to the public and its leaders. Yes, we could have waited till the case goes to a Double Bench in the High Court and then held our collective breaths as it goes to the Supreme Court. We could have waited, and watch our careers get effectively over. But we chose action, for where is the guarantee that this same fiasco would not happen the next time, if the culprits go scot free? We have seen in the case of Assam how an effective Government can, without having to wait for judicial intervention, bring the axe down on corruption and corrupted officials. Our intention was not to instigate a media trial but to bring to the attention of the government the irregularities that have crept into the MCSCC exam. For this unfortunate chain of events, we wish to convey our sincerest apologies to those who got selected genuinely despite all the perceived misdeeds in the MCSCC Examination, 2016. But any sort of movement to change something so deeply rooted in our system would have some unintended side-effects. If they feel their reputation has been somewhat tainted because of MPSC’s transgressions, the reputation of our state has been tarnished thousand-fold.
(The Group Of Aspirants can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Source: The Sangai Express