Wednesday, October 14, 2020

PSC’s Unfair Criteria

Sampada A. Khatiwada

Following the government's approval for holding examinations by adopting all the public health safety standards, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to carry out all the postponed examinations from November 3. The fresh decision must have brought a lot of cheers to those interested in the civil service.

Owing to the possible threat of the spread of the coronavirus, the PSC on March 19 had indefinitely postponed all the scheduled civil service examinations, judicial service, security bodies and various other public enterprises and organisations.

Recently, the PSC has issued criteria for conducting and managing the examinations, explicitly mentioning all the health and safety standards that are to be followed by invigilators, examinees and examination centres.

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With thousands of infections being reported daily, it is impossible to ascertain the end of the pandemic. As halting job recruitment examinations may affect thousands of applicants, the PSC has taken a progressive decision to conduct the examinations by adopting all the safety measures.

However, the criteria set by the PSC states that those who are infected with the virus and staying in isolation will not be allowed to sit for the examinations. The criteria require the candidates to declare themselves that they are not infected with the deadly virus disease to qualify for the examination.

It is appalling to see that the constitutional body like PSC is curtailing the constitutional rights of examinees. This criterion cannot be justifiable at a time when the entire nation is going through a public health emergency. With the community transmission of the virus being reported in most of the cities across the nation, anyone can be infected with the novel coronavirus anywhere. There have been instances where people staying at home have also contracted the virus. Thus, barring the applicants from taking the examinations just because they are infected is unjust.

Moreover, the PSC examinations have an age bar depending upon the position examinees have applied for. So if anyone who cannot take examination in the upcoming years due to his/her age bar is prevented from appearing in the examination this year, his/her dream of being a civil servant would remain unfulfilled.

To get into the civil service is a big dream for hundreds of thousands of people. They invest years in preparing for the exams. To prevent them from taking the exams is not at all justifiable.

Also, COVID-19 patients are often stigmatised and cornered by the society. The turmoil of emotions they go through while staying in isolation is inexpressible. Amid this scenario, if the patients have to go through an additional stress of not getting to appear the examinations, the anxiety they undergo during the COVID-19 might take a bigger form and hamper their life for a longer term.

Treating the COVID-19 patients indifferently also curtails their right to equality, right to life and right to employment. Barring the pandemic victims from enjoying their rights is unfair and condemnable. Thus, the PSC must come up with alternative measures or a special provision to facilitate the infected patients to take the examinations. The government has also to ensure that all the citizens get equal opportunities as guaranteed by the constitution.

source: Sampada A. Khatiwada, risingnepal daily, 15 October 2020

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