While the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) seems to have triggered an unwarranted controversy by awarding marks for inaccurately framed questions in the HCS and other allied services preliminary examination held in March 2012, it now emerges that the Commission completely overlooked a past precedent for settling such contentious issues.
The HPSC in 2004 had cancelled the geography paper (optional subject) in the HCS and allied services preliminary examination after several candidates complained of erroneously framed questions. Consequently, the Commission ordered for a fresh examination of geography (optional).
A May 28, 2004, statement issued by the HPSC quoting its Secretary: "The Haryana Public Service Commission has decided to cancel the examination for the optional subject of geography only in the HCS (preliminary examination-2004) held on May 23 due to certain inadvertent discrepancies in it. The Commission has further decided to conduct this examination afresh on June 13 from 10am to 12 noon at Chandigarh. Roll numbers of the candidates will remain unchanged.
However, admit cards to the candidates having geography as optional subject will be sent in due course…." Present HPSC secretary IC Sangwan said that he was not told about such a precedent. "It entirely depends upon the Commission as to what decision it takes at a particular juncture. The secretary has to obey the directions of the Commission," he maintained.
The Commission is at the centre of a controversy for awarding marks to candidates for inaccurately framed questions in the HCS and allied services preliminary examination. The Commission's decision is being viewed as against the tenets of fair play.
Various court rulings also clearly point out that the action of the Commission was out of place. While most number of mistakes and inaccuracies, at least seven, were in the general studies paper, the question papers of several optional subjects too contained inaccurately-framed questions.
A number of students who appeared in the HCS preliminary examination have demanded that Commission should review its decision, cancel the papers where inaccuracies were detected and order a fresh examination. This, they say, would satisfy everyone.
HPSC member Prem Prakash Pandit, who spoke to HT last week, had also said the Commission should have taken advice from a group of experts to settle the issue of inaccurately framed questions. Pandit had said the advice or opinion taken from a group of experts on the issue would have been a very transparent and fair approach to follow which would have satisfied everyone.