Hiring Of Blacklisted Firm Sparks Online Protests In Jammu And Kashmir

Hiring Of Blacklisted Firm Sparks Online Protests In Jammu And Kashmir

A Petition was filed challenging the decision of awarding contract to M/s Aptech


A blacklisted agency engaged by Jammu and Kashmir administration to conduct recruitment exams for government jobs has led to a massive online campaign against the administration.

Thousands of job aspirants are using hashtag #Aptech demanding transparency in exams and saying no to a tainted agency that has been awarded contract to conduct job exams by Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board. The Board had hit the headlines over recruitment scams in previous years.

The online campaign has forced the political leaders to question the rationale behind engaging a tainted agency that is blacklisted in various states.

Following protests and allegations of corruption in recruitments, J&K Union Territory administration scrapped selection list of at least four recruitment exams last year.

The administration announced to hold fresh exams. However, the contract to conduct these exams was given to M/S Aptech Limited, a controversial agency that’s blacklisted by Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam. The Delhi High Court has even imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on Aptech for alleged malpractices in recruitments.

In December, Jammu and Kashmir High Court strongly indicted J&K administration for allotting contract to a tainted agency. The court said the decision to award contract to M/s Aptech Limited, a blacklisted agency, is malafide and change of condition in tender was intended to favour the private agency.

“A blacklisted agency has been allowed to compete in the tendering process and the commercial interest has outweighed the public interest,” the court had said.

But just a day after the judgment, a division bench of the High Court stayed its single bench judgment after J&K administration challenged the order. The division bench allowed J&K Service Selection Board to go ahead with exams but barred it from declaring results till further orders from the court.

“I completely agree with a view taken by Delhi High Court in a case titled M/s Aptech Limited, supra that organizations resorting to, or permitting malpractice at an institutional level should be kept at bay,” reads the judgment by Justice Waseem Nargal.

The JKSSB is under scanner and facing multiple investigations by the CBI following allegations of malpractices in recruitment exams.

Recruitment exams for Police, Junior engineers, Financial Account assistant etc were canceled last year following protests over paper leaks and malpractices.

The CBI has arrested over a dozen accused including a commandant of Border Security Force for their alleged involvement in police sub-inspector recruitment scam.

According to CBI investigations, exam papers for Police sub-inspector posts were sold for Rs 20 to 30 lakh.

1200 candidates were selected for the post of police sub- inspectors; 1300 as junior engineers and about 1000 as Finance Account Assistants.

After scrapping recruitment lists, J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha announced fresh exams and promised a transparent and fair recruitment process.

But soon after fresh exams were announced, government decision to award contract to tainted agency to hold these exams which delivered another setback to thousands of job aspirants.

A petition was filed by some job aspirants challenging the decision of awarding contract to M/s Aptech.

The Single bench of the court had directed government to constitute a panel headed by a retired High Court judge to probe the conduct JKSSB for “brazen irregularities/ illegalities in changing the terms/conditions of the tender and award contract to an agency which has previously facilitated malpractices in public examinations.”

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