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Tribunal relief for OCS candidates

Cuttack, Aug. 26: The Odisha State Administrative Tribunal (OSAT) today invalidated the evaluation process adopted for selection of candidates for the Odisha Civil Services (Main) Examination-2011 and directed the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) to prepare a selection list afresh within two months.

The OPSC had conducted the OCS (Preliminary) Exam-2011 on January 19. Over 50,000 candidates took the test.

On May 2, the OPSC declared that 5,823 candidates had qualified to take main examination. The OCS (Main) Exam-2011 was scheduled to be held from September 6.

Priyambada Das of Rourkela, who had failed to qualify for the OCS (Main) exam, filed a petition, seeking quashing of the results of the preliminary examination claiming that results was skewed as grace marks were given in 18 of the 26 optional subjects.

The OPSC had given the grace marks (2.5 full marks) for faulty questions. The questions were subsequently categorised as wrong/ambiguous/no option available/two answers and printing mistake in the preliminary examination.

The tribunal closed hearing and reserved judgment on Priyambada’s plea on August 20. In its order, the tribunal directed the OPSC to do away with negative marking provision (0.25 marks for each wrong answer) while drawing the new list.

The commission will delete the wrong questions in each question paper and evaluate the marks on prorata basis. “The fresh evaluation process and declaration of the new selection list should be completed within two months,” the order said.

The tribunal endorsed the petitioner’s contention that results following giving grace marks for wrong questions in a competitive test is illegal and discriminatory as merit is the main criteria not grace, extra mark or excess mark.

The OPSC had given grace marks in veterinary science (5), botany (17.5), chemistry (7.5), commerce and accountancy (5), economics (7.5), electrical engineering (5), education (10), geography (10), geology (7.5), home science (2.5), management (5), mathematics (5), mechanical engineering (2.5), physics (5), political science (5), public administration (10), sociology (7.5), statistics (2.5). However, as there were no wrong questions, grace marks were not given in psychology, philosophy, zoology, agriculture, law, history, civil engineering and anthropology.

A high court division bench of Justice Pradip Mohanty and Justice Biswajit Mohanty yesterday refused to stay the OCS (Main) Exam and directed the tribunal to pass its judgment on her petition by Thursday.