A controversy erupted after the marksheet of a supposedly Other Backward Class (OBC) candidate, Archana Tewari, went viral on the social media for having secured the highest marks in the written test for recruitment of 69,000 assistant teachers in primary schools in the OBC category in the state. The row prompted the Uttar Pradesh Basic Shiksha Parishad to issue a clarification on Sunday.
The controversy arose as Tewari is usually reckoned as an upper caste surname but the candidate in question had filled in her application in the OBC category.
“Caste details are filled by candidates while applying for recruitment and the results are declared based on it. It is during counselling that the candidate has to prove his or her eligibility to claim the benefits of reservation,” said Anil Kumar, deputy secretary, Uttar Pradesh Basic Shiksha Parishad, Prayagraj.
The Allahabad high court had stayed the recruitment process of 69,000 assistant teachers on June 3, prima facie finding that certain questions and answers were ambiguous and wrong and, hence, it required fresh scrutiny by the UGC.
The stay order came on the first day of counselling during which candidates’ documents were to be verified.
Since then, the Uttar Pradesh government has challenged the single-bench stay order. The special appeal has been listed for June 9 before a division bench, comprising justice Pankaj Jaiswal and justice Dinesh Kumar Singh. It has been filed by the Examination Regularity Authority (ERA) on behalf of the state. In its appeal, the ERA has said the single-judge bench order was unwarranted and illegal.
For its part, the UP basic education department, Prayagraj has approached the cyber cell in Lucknow “to deal with fake information about the selection being spread on social messaging sites”.
An official said no comment on the woman’s caste can be made as it was inappropriate. Moreover, her documents indicated she belonged to the Gosai Samaj that was in the OBC category and members of Gosai community used a second name like Tewari and Mishra, an official said.
Irrespective of surname, if a candidate (in this case the woman) belongs to a reserved caste and proves it during the counselling where all the documents are verified, then he/she gets the benefit, or else her candidature is cancelled, an official said.
Kumar explained that the candidates who applied for 2019 examination filled in all the information in the form on their own. The candidates’ forms are verified during counselling only after the results are declared.
The documents submitted by the candidates are verified by the district selection committee at the district level. The committee cancels the application of a candidate, whose documents are not complete or are found to have discrepancies at the time of verification.