Gangtok: During the ongoing budget session of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, as discussions were held concerning the controversy around the Sikkim Public Service Commission (SPSC) decision to conduct the mains exam, it was revealed that eight applicants have been debarred from the examination.
The preliminary examination conducted on January 16 for three government posts-under secretary, deputy superintendent of police and accounts officer, had come under scrutiny after allegations of malpractices. It was later cancelled by the SPSC.
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The issue was raised during the question hour of the budget session in the state Assembly by Upper Burtuk legislator Dill Ram Thapa of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday.
“What work has the fact-finding committee of the SPSC done? How many applicants will be giving the mains examination? Over 7429 applicants applied for the January 16 examination which was an undisciplined examination where even the questions were wrong,” Thapa questioned the government.
He said that although the government assured appropriate actions through the fact-finding committee, applicants with merit were denied a fair chance. While the examination is crucial, he said that the government callously took four months to arrive at a decision.
He then questioned, “While now the government maintains that the decision to allow all applicants to give mains exam is to save time when it is known that government wasted the time of the applicants. Is SPSC so incapable of even conducting a fair examination?”
Recalling how the previous examination was conducted, he questioned if all 8000 applicants will get through. “The good candidates have to compromise on their merit, it is a violation of merit which even the Constitution of India doesn’t allow,” he shared.
Similarly, former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling also raised concerns about the malpractices and decisions taken by the SPSC. “The fundamental rights of those applicants have been violated. The merit basis for examination has been discredited by the SPSC for over 8,000 applicants. This is a mistake of the government, and they are answerable,” the former CM said.
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He then claimed that such decisions and examination practices have tarnished the image of the state, the government and the Chief Minister. This, he said, exhibits the failure of the government to conduct civil service examination, for which the state government is answerable, and action must be initiated.
However, another BJP legislator, Sonam Tshering Venchungpa, representing Martam-Rumtek constituency congratulated the SPSC. He termed despite the delay, the steps taken by the government were ‘natural justice and level playing field’ for all applicants.
“Natural justice has been served to all irregularities of the SPSC examination. However, the burden for the SPSC has increased due to the mains having more applicants now. The preliminary examination is part of the phase of rejection as there is 2-3 tier of the examination system,” he said.
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Responding to the legislators, Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay said, “The committee upon inquiry into alleged malpractices found that eight applicants have carried out malpractices in the examination. Those eight applicants have been debarred from the mains examination.”
The CM informed that the eight applicants had apologised to the SPSC which made it evident that the SPSC was not at fault. During frisking before the examination, he said that the pockets of the applicants were not checked.
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The leader of the house further informed that over 9,000 applicants had registered but only 7,387 appeared for the examination. “Those applicants have to pass the mains examination on merit. We have given equal time and opportunity to all the applicants. The government welcomes the recommendation of the committee,” Golay concluded.
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