To check the use of unfair means, the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission on Sunday (MPPSC) allegedly forced the State Administrative Services (SAS) candidates in Bhopal to take off their mangalsutras, socks and woollens, leaving them literally shivering with cold and anger in the examination halls.
The examination was held at 564 centres across the state. About 2.45 lakh candidates had applied, but only 80% had appeared in it on Sunday, according to the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission figures.
Bhopal division examination observer VR Khare admitted that the examinees had been asked to take off their jackets, shawls and stoles in the examination hall with a view to checking the use of unfair means. Instructions to this effect had been conveyed to the candidates in advance, he said.
Justifying the step, he said the organizers didn’t want the credibility of the SAS examination questioned as was that of the AIPMT (wherein the candidates were caught in the examination halls with bluetooth devices and SIM cards stitched to their shirts).However, the candidates disliked being asked to take off their woollens in the winter without the organizers making arrangement for heaters in the halls. They termed it as a case of human rights violation.
One of the examinees said the only saving grace was that the candidates weren’t asked to take off their clothes and wondered why they were asked to remove their socks. “This kind of behaviour caused a lot of inconvenience to the candidates,” he said.
One Sunita Jain from Ratalam said that the invigilators even asked women candidates to take off their mangalsutras and other ornaments. They didn’t even allow those who were suffering from cold and cough to carry a handkerchief, she said, adding, “This examination was a punishment for us.”