State may adopt UPSC model of keeping written test marks secret

The State government will explore the possibility of replicating the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) system of keeping the marks scored by candidates in written examinations confidential till the completion of the interview stage, in the recruitments by the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC).

Replying to a discussion in the Legislative Assembly on Monday on complaints of corruption in the recruitment to Gazetted Probationers Group A and B posts by the KPSC, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah admitted that the announcement of the written examination marks ahead of the interview gives ample room for “manipulation” by the panel members who conduct the interviews.

“There is a need to streamline the selection process. We will consider whether the UPSC model of not disclosing the marks in written exams till the completion of the interview process can be replicated here,” Siddaramaiah said and reiterated that he will soon order an inquiry by an appropriate agency into the complaints of corruption in the KPSC. Till then, all the 362 appointments made for gazetted group A and B will be kept in abeyance, he said.

As per the present rules, of the 2,000 marks for KAS exams, 1,800 is for written test  and the remaining 200 marks are awarded by KPSC members after interviewing the candidate.

There have been allegations that candidates who had scored high marks in the written exams had been awarded low marks in the interview, while candidates who had fared poorly in the written exams had been allotted marks as high as 150 in the interview.

Siddaramaiah said the probe agency will be asked to submit its report within three weeks following which the state government will decide on the next action. The complaint by HPS Mythri, the topper in the ST category in the Karnataka Administrative Services (KAS) examination for 2012 that she was asked to pay a bribe of Rs 75 lakh by a KPSC member if she wanted the post of assistant commissioner would also be probed, Siddaramaiah said. “In case the allegations are proved true, we will take appropriate action,” he said.

‘Political requests’

Leader of the Opposition H D Kumaraswamy said KPSC members sometimes succumb to “political requests” while interviewing candidates, but that does not necessarily mean all are corrupt. He also observed that the media report on the alleged corruption in KPSC was tarnishing the image of the recruiting body, which enjoyed constitutional status. “I wonder whether the media has sufficient material to substantiate what it is putting out,” Kumaraswamy said and wondered whether there should be a law to prevent the media from publishing reports based on just hearsay.

He also pointed out there have been media reports about a candidate making it to the post of a gazetted officer without writing the KPSC scam. “If this is true; the officer should be immediately arrested,” he said.

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