Missing answer sheets of University of Kerala assistant examination

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday ordered a Crime Branch inquiry into the case of ‘missing' answer sheets of the examination for selection to the post of university assistants in the University of Kerala held in 2005.

A special police team may also be constituted for this purpose, if needed, the government order says.

Mr. Chandy toldThe Hinduhere that the government was only complying with the directive of the courts in this case. “The previous government had not complied with this directive,” he said. No timeframe had been set for the inquiry, he added.

The 40,000 answer sheets of the examination remained untraceable even as a controversy erupted over the selection of close to 200 university assistants from a rank list prepared on the basis of this examination. Congress-led organisations had consistently maintained that a majority of the appointees had close links with the CPI(M) or were relatives of CPI(M) activists. Pro-Left Democratic Front (LDF) organisations had rejected this charge.

While the written test was conducted during the tenure of the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government, the interview was conducted by a pro-LDF syndicate during the tenure of the CPI(M)-led government which assumed office in 2006. Though the then Vice-Chancellor, M.K. Ramachandran Nair, had initially maintained that the answer papers were safe in a Hyderabad-based high-security press, the varsity was unable to produce the answer sheets when ordered to do so by the Lok Ayukta which heard a case filed by Kerala Students Union leader Sujith S. Kurup.

Subsequently, the Lok Ayukta ordered the cancellation of the final list and asked for punitive action against varsity officials concerned, including the then Vice-Chancellor. The university moved the High Court against this. The High Court appointed an inquiry commission [the Sukumaran Commission] to conduct an inquiry.

This commission, among other things, recommended that all non-teacher appointments in universities be handed over to the Public Service Commission. Both the High Court and the Lok Ayukta are yet to pronounce its final verdict.

The university had been hit hard by an acute shortage of personnel at the assistant level. Though the varsity's statutes mandate that only permanent staff be posted in the examination wing, a fair portion of work in that section is being done by non-permanent staff. Even though the LDF government had given the nod for handing over appointments to the PSC, the varsity is yet to amend its statutes to this effect. A top university official said here that clarification is required from the government as to posts which can be classified as ‘non-teaching.'

Though teachers are appointed as the Registrar, the Controller of Examinations, the Director Planning and Development, and Director of the College Development Council, it is not clear whether these fall under the category of non-teaching posts, the official said.

  • 40,000 answer sheets remain untraceable

  • State complying with court directives: Chandy