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Posted at: May 26, 2018, 2:01 AM; last updated: May 26, 2018, 2:01 AM (IST)ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY EXAMS

PPSC ‘revises’ answer key, candidates allege bias

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 25

The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) courted a controversy by allegedly making changes to the answer keys and awarding marks to certain “undeserving candidates” to ensure their selection as assistant district attorney (ADA).

Refuting the charges, the commission claimed that the changes were made after consulting experts.

Candidates allege that the examination process seems tailor-made to suit certain candidates. The commission withdrew 11 questions and decided to give full marks (1.5 each) to all candidates whether he attempted the question or not”.

Two separate exams of 150 marks each were held on March 18. Answers were uploaded and objections were invited till March 22. Later, a revised answer key was uploaded on the commission’s website on May 23.

Over 2,600 candidates had taken the exam. In the revised answer key, the PPSC reportedly made some “major” changes. Candidates allege that this was done to recruit “non-deserving candidates”. “After these changes, I stand to lose at least 6 marks,” said a candidate.

As The Tribune went through the question paper, it found that the changes pertained to questions totalling 37.5 marks.

Documents in possession of The Tribune show that besides withdrawing 11 questions, benefit was also given to candidates for 11 other questions that had “two correct answers”. Documents suggest that the PPSC changed the answers of question number 8 and 34 in paper-1 and question number 96 in paper -2.

Candidates claim that their selection or rejection is usually decided by less than a mark. “Instead of making such changes, the PPSC should hold the exam again,” they said.

Sources in the PPSC confirmed that subject experts to set up the question paper were shortlisted by the Secretary, PPSC, in consultation with the Chairman. Parmod Sharma, who runs a coaching centre, says the discrepancies in the revised answer key “hint at corruption for allowing back-door entry to certain candidates”. “The exam needs to be re-held or a probe be initiated. In such a competitive exam, 37.5 marks out of 300, matter a lot,” he said.

PPSC Secretary Jasleen Kaur Sandhu claimed that the procedure was foolproof. “We made changes for 25 questions in total after objections were received and experts consulted,” she said, adding that the experts who had set the paper and those who reviewed the objections were different.

On marks for 11 questions given to all, Jasleen Sandhu said it would not make any difference to the final merit list. “For the other 11 questions in which we have given two options as correct, we have gone by expert views,” she said.

Candidates say: “We attempted the questions as per our understanding. We can either be right or wrong. How can there be two answers to a question. Instead of handpicking the questions whose answers were changed in the revised key, the PPSC should get a re-examination done and order a probe.”

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