Cheating and impersonation in the exams being conducted in India have become quite common nowadays. The recent case of impersonation came up in Haryana State Selection Commission (HSSC) exam of the year 2009. For this exam over 50 cheating applicants for government jobs sent in surrogates (body doubles) to take the recruitment test in Haryana.
When on February 25, 2016 Gurugram-based Right to Information activist Harinder Dhingra sought information about the selection of several selected personnel as LDC in a test conducted in Faridabad by the ESIC on September 20, 2009. The CPIO (Central Public Information Officer) refused to provide the information seeking exemption under article 8 (1) of the RTI Act-2005. He asked for the admit cards to the exam, the attendance sheets, entrance permission/card, marks obtained in the ‘computer skill test’ along with thumb impressions. Thereafter an appeal was filed by him before first appellate authority who ordered the CPIO on May 31, 2016, that information should be provided to him. He was supplied with the information in September last year except the thumb impression of the candidates who appeared in the exam.
As of now, again in response to an RTI application that was filed so many years back, the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) on Thursday ordered a probe into the matter, to be conducted by the highest office of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). The report for the same is required to be submitted within two months. The ESIC is an autonomous corporation by a statutory creation under the Centre’s ministry of labour and employment.
The shocking fact is that the department tried to stonewall the information sought by the petitioner even though he had presented enough proof. Moreover, much more surprising is that the people didn’t even bother to inquire into these allegations of impersonation despite the fact that 11 separate RTIs were filed and the appellant had provided names and particulars of all the 11 accused of impersonation. But as of now 11 such cases of impersonation have been put up in front of the team chief, but the RTI also suggests that there are 52 cases in total. The appellant said that 800 such cases are there across the country.
The petitioner in the case told that he was shocked to find that signatures on the admit card and attendance sheet in the written exam of these candidates, who later were appointed as lower division clerks, were ‘quite different’ from the signatures of those who sat the exam on September 20, 2009. The recruitment examination comprised a written test and one in computer skills. However, it is very much clear that those who took the exam were not appointed as LDC in ESIC.