The examination department of Savitribai Phule Pune University, which often hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons, has now come under flak from the auditor general of Maharashtra. Documents accessed by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act show that the university failed to submit details regarding the re-evaluations carried out by it when asked by the AG during audit, which has clearly not gone down well with the auditors.
Delay in the declaration of results and alleged malpractices in re-evaluation involving the university staff, among other allegations, have dogged the examination department for some time now. University authorities had started a departmental inquiry against the former controller of examinations Dr Sampada Joshi, which led to her resignation from the post on Tuesday. Other than this, students’ bodies and academicians have pointed out how in numerous examinations delay in the declaration of results has affected the career of many students.
Last year, a majority of the results were declared quite late. The re-evaluation, its process being long and cumbersome, often defeats the purpose. Having applied for re-evaluation, students usually submit the examination fees, which are not refundable.
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Auditors, who had done the audit of the university, had asked for several details, based on which they were to carry out their task in the examination department.
They had asked for the number of applications received for photocopy of answersheets in the last three years, that of applications for re-evaluation and of students whose marks were changed after re-evaluation, along with reasons for not correctly evaluating the answersheets. They had also called for the time-frame for declaration of results and also that for declaration of re-evaluation results. The delay was also questioned and its reason sought during the audit.
Importantly, the auditors asked for details of the disciplinary action taken against persons responsible for irregularities in awarding marks. Also, the auditors had asked reasons for the increase in the number of re-evaluation applications and the action taken by the department to minimise the same.
Norms laid down under the Comptrollers and Auditor General’s Act 1971 gives the auditor the power to inspect offices during the course of the audit. The Act makes it mandatory for the “persons in charge of the office shall provide all facilities for such inspection and comply with requests for information in as complete a form as possible and with all reasonable expedition”.
However, the auditors were not able to audit the functioning of the department. “In reply, the department furnished information regarding overall statistical report of the verification result and re-evaluation result for the year 2012-13/2013-14. Point-wise reply was not furnished. The audit could not verify the records as the reply furnished was not relevant as the information was sought for the period from 2009-10 to 2011-12,” the auditors noted.
Senior officers of the examination department, while speaking to Newsline, said some of the points raised by the auditors were subjective and couldn’t be independently verified.
“The re-evaluation department does not keep a track of the number of students who have passed following re-evaluations. We suspect malpractice only when there is a drastic increase in the marks after re-evaluation,” said the officer. Apparently, during the recently conducted engineering examination, a case had come to light in which a student’s marks had increased by 22 per cent after re-evaluation, which then led to an investigation. When contacted, Deputy Registrar Pramod Bhadakwade said: “We will look into the matter.”