The question of merit

The intention would have been good but the bad situation developed was unexpected
The question of merit
Representational ImageFile/ GK

Consequent upon Jammu & Kashmir’s Home Department Indent No. Home/PB-III/34/2021 dated 2-7-2021 requisitioning/referring 800 posts of Sub-Inspectors, UT cadre for direct recruitment, to the Jammu & Kashmir Service Selection Board (herein after referred to as Board) the latter vide advertisement Notification No.06 of 2021 dated 21-10-2021 invited online applications from the eligible candidates for participation in the selection process.

Later on the number of posts was increased to 1200 by the Home Department vide letter dated 23-11-2021 and the same was notified for the concerned as per the following breakup:-


The last date for submission of forms was extended from 10-12-2021 to 18-12-2021 vide Notice No.SSB/Secy/2021/8547-64 dated 8-12-2021 which was further extended up to 26-12-2021 vide Notice No.SSB/Secy/2021/9008-24 dated 23-12-2021. Pertinent to mention here that Jammu & Kashmir suffered the worst unemployment rate when compared with the other States and the Union Territories in India.

According to report of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) published during 4/2022 the unemployment rate had crossed 25 percent which was more than thrice of the average national level unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

According to CMIE data the unemployment rate in Jammu & Kashmir jumped from 13 percent in 8/2021 to 21.6 percent in 9/2021 and then marched to 25 percent in 2022.

As per official data Jammu & Kashmir was the only region in India which had over 20 percent unemployment rate followed by Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Tripura where it was above 15 percent.

As the unemployment is on alarming rise with resultant financial constraint making the unemployed educated youth to apply (though at comparatively exorbitant application fee of Rs.550/ for General Category) for every government post advertised, as many as 1,13,861 candidates applied for the advertised posts.

The Board conducted the written test on 27-3-2022 in 320 examination centres set up in 16 districts where 97,793 candidates appeared to try their mettle. The Board displayed online the merit list on 4-6-2022 with the topper having 140.497944 points on page 5 of Annexure ‘A’ and the lowest ranker with minus (-)25.270126 at the end of the last page number 898 of the annexure.

After the Board issued the list it came under scanner with aspirants alleging large scale irregularities saying that candidates from same families were selected in various instances. The candidates started leveling serious allegations against the Board as in about two dozen cases two, and some cases three, siblings were shown to have qualified the exam and with good marks too.

Most of these siblings who were alleged to have made it to the merit slots were stated to have hailed from Akhnoor area. It is to recall that selection of police personnel (non-gazetted) in Jammu & Kashmir hitherto used to be done by the J & K Police Department itself.

However, it was for the first time that Jammu & Kashmir government headed by Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha decided to conduct the exam through the Board. The intention would have been good but the bad situation developed was unexpected.

From 5-6-2022 to 9-6-2022 social media was abuzz with videos, comments and posts etc. by the aspirants who alleged irregularities in the selection process and termed the merit list as unfair.

There were even protests by the aggrieved youth and the job aspirants concerned who alleged brazen discrepancies and manipulation in the merit list by the Board.

The Jammu & Kashmir Students Association urged the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to order a CBI probe into this selection scam. “There are very serious allegations of blue eyed candidates making it to the top slot of the merit list.

This has led to serious frustration among those who burnt their midnight oil. The Association appreciates the time bound intervention from L.G. Manoj Sinha whose honesty and integrity is a blessing to job aspirants but ordering a CBI probe will boost the morale of all those who firmly believe in the rule of law. Moreover, there is a unanimous call for the same from hard working aspirants” reads their statement.

The government took cognizance of the reports and Hon’ble Leiutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on 9-6-2022 ordered a probe into the matter by one of the senior most bureaucrats. Hon’ble LG while addressing the passing-out parade of the probationer DSPs. and Sub-Inspectors of Jammu & Kashmir Police at Sher-e-Kashmir Academy in Udhampur said, “ For last two to three days, newspapers have been publishing reports regarding the recruitment of Sub-Inspectors in J&K Police which has come under suspicion.

We have taken cognizance of the matter and a committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary Home Department R.K Goyal will probe it in time bound manner.” The statement gave great relief not only to the aspirants who had taken the test but also to those other youth who else felt disappointed on the outcome of the results of the written test suspected to be unfair. As per The Daily GK dated 14-6-2022 newspaper reports the panel on alleged irregularities in Sub-Inspectors’ written test is to submit its report on 25-6-2022.

This was one of the major recruitment drives in Jammu & Kashmir that got eclipsed with allegations of corruption. Since the place and the candidates who were alleged to have fraudulently made to the top slots of the merit list stood indicated it is easier for the probing committee to take further leads to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the allegations and reach to conclusion quickly.

If the allegations leveled are found to be true & correct it is hoped that Hon’ble LG led administration will act tough instantly as per law of the land against those candidates, officers, officials and or others who are found guilty of commission of irregularities and those who facilitated its commission.

Some quarters concerned have demanded cancellation of the whole list while others concerned voiced that cancellation of the whole list is tantamount to collective punishment. They urged that authority concerned for taking further the recruitment process may filter the convicts, drop them from the list and adjust the succeeding candidates at their proper place of merit.

Frame the merit list de-novo and redisplay it for general view instead of cancelling the whole list for some black sheep and make the innocents suffer for no fault of theirs. It is further opined that this will save government from incurring extra expenditure on re-conducting the exam, speed up the recruitment to the essential service entity and one of the most important /biggest departments on one side and save the innocent candidates from undergoing grill & drill of re-preparation for the next written test on the other.

This will also not affect badly the yearly recruitment calendar of the government which is often repeating its commitment to provide and create as much employment opportunities as possible to arrest the growing trend of unemployment in Jammu & Kashmir.

The author is a former Sr. Audit Officer and Consultant in the A.G’s Office Srinagar.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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