Candidates in fix after Bihar SSC seeks caste certificates procured before 2014

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After the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) asked to produce caste certificates procured before October 2014, around 9,000 candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC), Extremely Backward Classes (EBC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) are apprehensive about getting disqualified during the ongoing counselling for the selection of 13,210 lower division clerks.

The candidates allege that in the advertisement for the examination, BSSC had mentioned that caste certificates will be needed to be produced during the counselling but did not specify the requirement of certificates procured before 2014. The counselling started on December 15 and will conclude on December 24.

BSSC had advertised its vacancies under 43 categories for Class XII pass candidates and had received applications between September 1, 2014 and October 11, 2014. After a paper leak and subsequent cancellation of the preliminary test in 2017, the exam was eventually held in December 2018.

Around 65,000 candidates had qualified for the Mains, which was held in December 2020, in which 53,000 candidates qualified. After physical, typewriting and shorthand tests, 14,410 candidates were shortlisted for document verification and counselling for a final selection.

Vinod Kumar, one of selected candidates who along with two other candidates approached Patna High Court on December 15, told The Indian Express, “How can candidates produce caste certificates or non-creamy layer caste certificates of 2014? The advertisement had mentioned candidates will need to produce caste certificates at the time of counselling which simply meant that the certificates were not time-barred.”

Anil Kumar Choudhary, another petitioner, said BSSC’s move would only amount to disqualification of thousands of SC/EBC/OBC candidates as it is not possible to get caste certificates prior to 2014.

Alka Verma, counsel for the students, said, “We need the High Court to hear the matter urgently as the counselling is underway. It is unfair on the part of BSSC to have inserted such a provision. We are challenging the legality of the matter.”

Meanwhile, several candidates also alleged that they had been disqualified on account of their thumb impressions not matching. Mukesh Kumar, a selected candidate, reasoned, “Why should we pay for poor quality biometric verifications? Each candidate was photographed and captured in videos during the preliminary test and Mains and each one had to write a paragraph so that it could be used to match the handwriting for verification. Some students faced FIRs and had to stay overnight in lock-ups for alleged impersonation.”

Meanwhile, BSSC chairman Ravindra Kumar and secretary Om Prakash Paul did not respond to phone calls and queries by The Indian Express. A BSSC source, however, said the candidates had a valid point.

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