Court seeks detailed report on steps taken against paper setters for caste-based question

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New Delhi, Oct 28 (PTI) A Delhi court Wednesday directed the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) to file a detailed report on the steps that have been taken against two paper setters, who had allegedly put a caste-based question in the primary teachers' recruitment exam.

Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Bedi directed the DSSSB Chairman to file the report by November 25 in the matter.

During the hearing, DSSSB Chairman Santosh Vaidya appeared before the court through video conferencing and submitted the details of the paper setters in two sealed envelopes.

The court asked Vaidya about the steps that have been taken by the DSSSB when they came to know of the incidents.

Advocate Anuj Kumar Sharma, appearing for DSSSB, told the court that they will file within 10 days a detailed report of the steps and inquiries initiated and disciplinary action, if any, taken against the two paper setters who had allegedly prepared questions with casteist remarks twice.

The court had earlier pulled up the police for not making any efforts to identify the paper setters and said it was dismayed by their 'callous approach' in the matter.

It had directed the DSSSB Chairman to appear before it to explain the steps that have been taken and furnish details of the paper setters to the court.

'This court is dismayed at the fact that the complaint is pending since November, 2018 and the ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police)/authorities have been callous in their approach and have not even made efforts to identify the name/designation of the paper setter of DSSSB, who set out the question in DSSSB Board, Primary Teacher examination held on October 13, 2018,” it had said.

The police had earlier told the court in its status report that the person who had allegedly put a caste-based question in the exam has been removed from the board's paper setters panel.

They, however, had said the board did not disclose the name or identity of the paper setter who had included the caste-based question.

The complaint, filed by advocate Satya Prakash Gautam, has sought action against the DSSSB chairman and the erring officials of the examination committee under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

It claimed that a caste-based question was asked in the exam conducted on October 13, 2018, by the DSSSB.

Gautam said in the complaint that DSSSB officials by asking caste-based question have offended the sentiments of the scheduled caste community.

The police had earlier informed the court in January, 2019, that the DSSSB had conducted an internal enquiry in the matter and it was decided that the question paper setter was disengaged from the panel of paper setters working for DSSSB.

They said the board has sensitized all paper setters to ensure that the question paper does not have any question with casteist and religious undertones.

The board had issued a notice after media reports of the alleged casteist question came out in 2018, saying the question having casteist undertone appeared due to an 'inadvertent error'.

It had clarified that the procedure of paper setting was highly confidential and secretive in nature and the contents of the paper are not shared with the board officials and are revealed for the very first time before the candidates only.

'The appearance of any such question which may have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of any section of the society is deeply regretted. During evaluation process, this question shall not be evaluated for the purpose of preparation of results. The board is taking necessary corrective measures to sensitize its paper setters and suitable action is being taken to ensure that such incident is not repeated in future,' it had said.

However, Gautam filed another complaint on August 19, 2019, against DSSSB chairman and other erring police officials alleging the incident was repeated again.

He claimed in the second complaint that a caste-based question was again asked in the exam conducted by the DSSSB for the primary teachers' recruitment examination on August 18, 2019. PTI URD RDM RDM