Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to prevail upon the Union Public Service Commission to reconsider what she called “invidious, unfair and discriminatory changes made in the scheme of the Civil Services Examination.”

In a letter to the Prime Minister, she said the recent changes notified by the UPSC were highly discriminatory against Civil Service aspirants from non-Hindi speaking regions of the country.

She alleged that the new stipulation that the main examination, including optional papers, could be written in the Tamil medium, only if candidates had studied in that medium up to graduation level, denied them the opportunity to write the examination in their mother tongue.

“However, there is no such stipulation for candidates who wish to appear in the Hindi medium. Considering that both Tamil and Hindi are languages included in the 8th schedule of the Constitution, this clearly discriminates against not just Tamil speaking candidates, but against all candidates from the non-Hindi States, and in particular against rural students from the SC/ST, BC and MBC and other marginalised sections who would have had their mother tongue as the medium of instruction up to the school level,” she said.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said it was violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India and places such candidates at a disadvantage when compared to students writing the examination in English or Hindi.

The Chief Minister described as “discriminatory and illogical” the change that candidates opting for the literature of a language as their optional paper could do so only if they had studied it at the graduation level as the main subject. “Such a stipulation has not been made for any other optional subject. Therefore, a student graduating in Mathematics can take History as an optional subject, but not Tamil Literature,” she further said.

As regards the third change that unless there was a minimum of 25 candidates opting for a particular language medium, those candidates would have to write the examination in English or Hindi only, she said, “This is inexplicable, discriminatory and violative of the Constitutional right to equality.” Ms. Jayalalithaa also criticised the decision to remove the compulsory qualifying paper in an Indian language and the inclusion of an English composition and précis writing section as an evaluated portion of the Essay paper instead of the qualifying English paper.

“This change also clearly favours urban, English educated candidates and acts against rural students belonging to disadvantaged sections,” she said. She added, “These retrograde changes brought in by the Union Public Service Commission without adequate consultation with the State governments are undemocratic and unilateral and will have the effect of denying the youth of Tamil Nadu their fair chance of representation in the Civil Services, and ultimately, hamper the governance of the country.”