Passed candidate with same name denied certificate

In 2008 when two candidates with identical names wrote the MA Hindi examinations of the University of Kerala little did anyone imagine that one of them—who failed the examinations—would be issued a degree certificate while the other, who passed the examinations, would be denied the same.

However, that is exactly what the university did, despite several precautions that university officials are supposed to take to prevent such things from happening.

After the issue was raised at the January 7 meeting of the university’s examination standing committee, Acting Vice-Chancellor N. Veeramanikantan ordered an inquiry into the incident. Pending this, the university is yet to issue the degree certificate to the candidate who passed the examinations of the Institute of Distance Education.

Syndicate member B.S. Jyothikumar, who flagged this issue at the standing committee meeting, told The Hindu that university officials had initially tried to hush up this serious lapse on their part.

“The register numbers of the two candidates differed by one digit. On December 31, 2009, the candidate who passed the examination applied for and received a provisional certificate.

She did not apply for the original degree certificate. In May 2012 when she did apply, she was told that her degree certificate had been despatched to her back in December 2009 itself.

On December 1, 2012, the girl petitioned the university pointing out that she had never applied for a degree certificate and that she had not received any such certificate from the university,” he explained.

No action taken

The university reportedly did not take any action on this petition till December 2013.

Sometime that year the candidate who, Mr. Jyothikumar said, never appeared for the MA Hindi examinations but was issued a degree certificate, surrendered the same to the university.

“When the standing committee met on January 7 the university’s file contained no details on how and when the second candidate surrendered the wrongly issued degree certificate,” he pointed out. However, both Dr. Veeramanikantan and Controller of Examinations K. Madhukumar told The Hindu that the second candidate had written the examinations but did not pass.

Register missing

The process of issuing a degree certificate begins when a candidate submits an application for the same. In this case both these candidates reportedly never applied for a degree certificate.

A university official familiar with this process told The Hindu that if the names of two or more candidates were identical, officials in the section concerned were expected to record the dates of birth of these candidates along with the names.

But if the dates of birth were also identical, the name of the father/mother or the name of the residence was also recorded in the register.

“How did the process begin without an application form? Now, the university has destroyed all degree certificate application forms till 2010 and a register which records the issue of such certificates is missing,” Mr. Jyothikumar said.

According to Mr. Madhukumar, the university would also have to probe whether the degree certificate it issued was used for any purpose by the candidate concerned. One official involved in the incident had since retired and others had moved on to other posts, he said.

Mr. Jyothikumar, however, said he was unhappy with the Vice-Chancellor’s decision to order an internal inquiry.

“I wanted an external agency to conduct the probe,” he said, “only then would the correct nature of this so-called mistake by the university come to light.”