The appointment process for filling up 69,000 Assistant Teacher vacancies for junior basic schools by the Uttar Pradesh Government was stayed by the Allahabad High Court, yesterday after dealing a batch of pleas raising questions over the answer key released by the Exam Authorities for the 2019 Recruitment Exam on May 8, 2020.
The counselling process that was to begin on 3 June 2020 was put on stay by Justice Alok Mathur on the ground of material errors in the evaluation of the question paper, which likely affected a large number of faultless candidates. Examination of some of the questions and answers that were given for the exam was done to arrive at the prima facie and was found that at least five of them ”On the face of it seem to be incorrect/ debatable and deserve revaluation. Any reasonable person of ordinary prudence would have difficulty in either understanding the questions or understanding the answers and in either situation would be unable to point out the correct answer as per the examining authorities. “Court said.
The Court critically noted highlighting appointment matter that:
- Certain answers as per the final answer key are clearly incorrect.
- Same questions were included in certain other examinations, where a different answer was held to be correct.
- The State authorities were unable to explain as to how identical or nearly identical questions have been put up in other examinations and different answers have been marked as correct.
- The experts on whose opinion the final answer key was prepared have not lived up to their reputation and have submitted a cryptic and unreasoned opinion which cannot at any stretch of imagination be said to be an expert report.
- There were discrepancies and ambiguity bordering on conflict in the Hindi and English version of a question.
- In an objective type of question paper there is no scope for any deduction or inference nor is there any provision for giving reasons for the answer. Argumentative questions clearly have to be avoided and have no place in an objective question paper, the Court added.
The Expert’s report held woefully inadequate.
The provisional answer key and the objections made by candidates for appointment must be placed before a panel constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the submission of a report on the panel’s findings is sent, the Court directed earlier.
This followed and the Court found in the case of teacher appointment that the “expert panel” constituted for the appointment examination purposes had presented a report that was totally unsatisfactory and woefully inadequate.
The order also records that “None of the experts have given any sufficient reason in support of their decision but in the most cryptic manner in half a sentence have given their opinion. A perusal of the expert report leaves much to be desired as to the manner of the functioning in such an important matter. Expert opinion cannot be eyewash but serves a salutary purpose as per the scheme of the examination by the respondents themselves.”
Justice Mathur while highlighting appointments of teachers proceeded to stay the notification dated May 8 related to release of final answer keys and all subsequent recruitment proceedings, keeping in mind that several candidates for appointment have failed to make the cut for the exam round on having lost 1 or 2 marks.
The discrepancies raised by the candidates deserved to be reconciled and that the fairness of the recruitment must be reflected in its process, said the Court.
“In the present instance, the procedure prescribed in the guidelines would indicate that the procedure was meant to be extremely fair and transparent, but in its actual working as observed above, the fairness is clearly lacking“, the Court communicated.
The Court has also directed the exam authorities to file a counter affidavit within three weeks, apart from staying the counselling process. The next hearing on the matter shall commence on July 12. Another controversy that had erupted out of this recruitment exam shall be lined up in July by the Supreme Court.
The pleas before the Supreme Court concerned the decision of the authorities to raise the cut off marks for qualifying the exam to 65% for the general category and 60% for reserved categories. Earlier, the cut off was fixed at 45% for the general category and 40% for the reserved category. On May 6 a Division Bench affirmed the State’s decision to increase the cut off marks on appeal.
The controversy reached the Supreme Court, later that month regarding the appointments , prompting the apex Court to question the issuance of different criteria for the assistant teacher recruitment exam prior and post the exam.
The State government and other concerned authorities directed to file their reply by July 14 and ordered to send a detailed chart showcasing the vacancies for appointment in assistant teacher posts by July 6 to the apex Court.
Read the Order here: