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Army Recruitment Row: Patna High Court seeks explanation from defence ministry

On Tuesday, the Patna high court initiated a case on its own motion with regard to the images published in the newspaper where the candidates for Army recruitment examination at Chakkar Maidan in Muzaffarpur were dresses up  in underwear on Sunday. There were 1159 candidates who appeared for the recruitment examination for the post of clerk at Army Regional Office (ARO) in Muzaffarpur. Advocate Dinu Kumar brought to the notice of the court regarding the newspaper report. The bench consisted of acting Chief Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari and Justice Chakradhari Saran Singh initiated it as a public interest litigation and issued direction to the secretary, ministry of defense to give explanation for such incident.

The court also asked why the candidates traveling nearly 70 kilometers to appear for the examination were asked to remove their cloths. The reason claimed by the authorities was that it was to prevent malpractices in the examination. They also alleged that candidates used to hide chits and used other gadgets in their cloths in the previous exams. The matter is posted for hearing on April 6. A candidate clarified that they had to remove clothes as per the direction of the authorities. Though some candidates showed reluctance, the army officers asked such candidates to leave without writing the exam. No option was there for the candidates, hence they obeyed the instructions of the army officers.

The director (recruitment) at the Army Regional Office replied that it was not to insult anyone but to prevent cheating. He also said that there were no complaints from the candidates. Further, Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister sought reply from the officials with regard to the issue. The army also replied that the decision was not with the knowledge of the Army headquarters. The court has taken the issue seriously and had asked for the explanation immediately.

Adv. Jewel Panicker