Kerala minister gets flak for UPSC selection allegation

Kerala Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel had raised suspicions over the selection of Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala's son to the civil services in 2017. Photo/Facebook (Dr. KT Jaleel)

Resentment is brewing among civil service officers over the allegations raised by a minister in Kerala about the civil service selection process.

Kerala Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel raised suspicions over the selection of Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala's son to the civil services in 2017. His main contention was that Chennithala's son scored higher marks in interview allegedly by influencing the interview board members. He even sought a probe into the phone calls and Delhi visit of Chennithala, who is the Opposition leader in Kerala.

Serving and retired civil services officers from Kerala have expressed strong resentment against the statement of the minister raising suspicion over the credibility of the civil service selection process by the Union Public Service Commission. Such statements by responsible persons would even cause anxiety among the civil service aspirants from weak backgrounds, they feel.

T P Sreenivasan, a former Ambassador of India and 1967-batch IFS officer, told DH that there was no chance for any sorts of malpractice in the civil services selection process. "UPSC selection process is highly confidential. Even the chairman won't know who is on each interview board. Moreover, the board members would not have access to written exam marks of the candidates," said Mr. Sreenivasan, who was also a former member in the UPSC selection board.

Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena, a 1988-batch IAS officer, said that the UPSC was among the institutions like Election Commission that got a high level of credibility. It is owing to the UPSC's credibility that people from weak and backward backgrounds could make it to the Civil Services, he said.

Former Kerala DGP T P Senkumar also strongly flayed the minister for raising 'baseless' allegations against civil service selection's fairness. "It could be due to the lack of awareness of the minister about the selection process that he made such a statement. Such statements by a minister without knowing the facts would only cause unnecessary concerns among the civil service aspirants," he said.

Mr. Jaleel raised the allegations to counter the criticism raised against him by Chennithala, who in the Opposition leader in Kerala, over awarding five marks as special moderation, apart from the normal moderation, to engineering students of a university in Kerala who failed in one paper. 

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