Where are the government jobs that were promised?
Corruption in the JKSSB and Public Service Commission
traumatizes government job seekers
“Irrational decisions by the JKSSB have cost me two years. I appeared twice
for the same examination.”
Following the annulment of Article 370 and 35(A), educated youth in Jammu and Kashmir were promised 50,000 government jobs. The Lieutenant Governor (Administration) directed all the departments to prepare a report of unfilled vacancies, and forward it to the General
Administration Department (GAD).
GAD forwarded the report to Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) and to the Public Service Commission for Recruitment. In December 2021, JKSSB advertised competitive examinations to hire Sub-Inspectors (Home) or SIs and Junior Engineers (Jal Shakti) or JEs. Nearly 1.5 lakh aspirants appeared for both the examinations.
On June 4, 2022, when the results of the examination to fill the SI positions were published, aspirants from a particular region of Jammu division qualified enemas. This led to a lot of raised eyebrows and loud protests. The LG administration initiated an enquiry and scrapped the results for the recruitment of both SIs and JEs, following the protests by other aspirants. Landmark Judgment The task of holding a re-examination for both SI and JE posts was handed over by the JKSSB to a private firm, Aptech Limited, whose credentials were suspect. An aggrieved group of aspirants moved the J&K High Court against the JKSSB for hiring a blacklisted firm. This led to a landmark judgment by the high court. Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal directed the government to constitute a high-level committee to be headed by a retired high court judge to inquire into the conduct of JKSSB and the appointment of a company that had previously been accused of malpractices in conducting public examinations. The committee was also mandated to take appropriate action against those found guilty. Noting that undue favour was granted to the company during the hiring process, the court ordered that the re-examination be cancelled.
The order dented the reputation of the JKSSB, and at the same time, throttled the aspirations of the candidates.
The petition filed by Vinkal Sharma and others had asked that the JKSSB not be allowed to
conduct the examination through Aptech Limited. They urged that another agency, with higher and better credentials, be given the task of conducting the examinations through a Computer- Based Test (CBT) Mode.
After hearing the petition, the court observed that the functioning of the JKSSB did not inspire confidence when holding public examinations. It had become incumbent on all stakeholders to review the functioning of the JKSSB, it added.
The judgment exposed the inefficiency and incompetency of JKSSB which also affected the
efficiency of the recruitment process.
The JKSSB administration challenged the single-bench verdict in the Division Bench, which
provided some relief to the board by describing the single-bench order as “impugned”.
Meanwhile, the JKSSB was directed to conduct the examination, but not to declare the results till the writ petition was disposed of.
Aspirants Disappointed Sheikh Abid, who aspired to become an SI, is angry at the disruption to his life and career.
“Irrational decisions by the JKSSB have cost me two years. I appeared twice for the same
examination,” he said, adding that with all the ambiguity about the whole process, there was a lot of uncertainty.
The aspirants even took to the streets to register their protest after the high court found
irregularities and loopholes in the tendering process. They accused the JKSSB of toying with the careers of the young people.
Mudasir Mushtaq, a JE aspirant, blamed the JKSSB for issuing a faulty answer key.
“The board conducted the examination on 5th and 6th December on a computer-based mode. Today, it issued the answer key which had basic mistakes. We wanted to challenge it on the portal,” he said, adding that all this left hardworking aspirants demoralized.
“The attitude of the JKSSB had been a stumbling block for further study preparations. And
seeing the matter languishing in the court creates more uncertainty,” Mushtaq said.
Meanwhile, the probe into the cancellation of the earlier examination was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the J&K government. It wanted the CBI to investigate the blatant irregularities allegedly carried out by certain elements in connivance with JKSSB officials. The CBI has filed a charge-sheet and also arrested several persons who allegedly conspired with JKSSB officials, a Bengaluru-based private company, and even some candidates, resulting in gross irregularities in the conduct of the written examinations.