ITANAGAR: The Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) is once again under fire for alleged lapses in the recent examination process, with aspirants claiming that questions for one subject were copied from a previous examination of Pakistan’s civil services recruiting body.

A record 22,599 candidates appeared for Sunday’s preliminary examination in hopes of making the cut for just 105 posts.

No sooner were the examinations over, candidates took to social media to voice their anger over alleged mistakes in the question papers of various subjects.

One of the questions for the general studies paper asked candidates to select which among the states of Orissa, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Manipur do not have an independent high court of its own. A bench of the Gauhati High Court had jurisdiction over Manipur but that change in 2013 and the other states provided as options have had independent high courts for decades.

One question that appeared for the same subject asked candidates to name the ‘most orthodox vegetarian tribe of Arunachal Pradesh’. Needless to say, the question left almost everyone stumped.

However, a graver allegation has been levelled against the Commission by candidates who had opted for public administration as their optional subject.

The candidates claimed that apart from 50 questions that were copied from the Union Public Service Commission’s 2008 examination, an additional 55 questions were a verbatim copy of an examination held by the Pakistani civil examination body in 2000.

Copies of previous years’ examinations are available online and a few candidates took to searching for answers on the internet since many of the questions were not part of the syllabus prescribed by the Commission.

Writing to the Commission, candidates who had opted for public administration as their optional subject questioned the manner in which the question paper was set.

“When we are Indians, when our syllabus is in the context of Indian Constitution and administration, when the APPSC is the highest constitutional body of appointment and recruitment of an Indian state, why are we given the questions from Pakistan civil service???,” the letter written collectively by the candidates read.

They said that “although the subjects are same the syllabus of the two countries is very different” and that the “pattern of the paper was almost completely out of syllabus”.

The candidates claimed that the ‘copy-paste’ work was done so “unprofessionally” that even errors in the questions were ignored.

The letter further went on question “why the questions were not from Indian administration” and if it was a “deliberate attempt to promote one subject over other subjects” in view of the opinion that there was disparity in the degree of difficulty of questions among the optional subjects.

While candidates who opted for public administration as their subject have been vocal, including Tumyir Badak and Mago Tago, said that the blame lies with the Commission and not the candidates who reportedly had an easier question paper.

Calling for an investigation into the matter, the candidates also said that the Commission should decrease the cut-off mark and introduce a system that would allow for an equitable number of candidates to get past the preliminary examination.

The officials are currently tight-lipped on the matter but a source in the Commission said that it is open to listen to complaints and discrepancies will be addressed.

This is, however, not the first time that the Commission finds itself in the midst of controversy.

Last month when the list of candidates qualified to appear for the preliminary examination was made public, there were protests over the inclusion of four candidates belonging to the Chakma community.

Indigenous tribal groups of Arunachal Pradesh have been opposed to the Centre’s decision to grant citizenship to members of the community following an earlier Supreme Court order.

The Commission swiftly moved to remove the names of the candidates, stating that they were not Indian citizens and thus ineligible to appear for the examination.

Back in 2015, the Commission was subject to sustained protests from a large section of candidates who alleged that a question paper for the mains examination had leaked.