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Cheating case: HC orders relief to 9 IIM-B students

A group of around 15 students of Post-Graduate Programme (PGP) and PGP (Business Analytics) courses had formed a WhatsApp group and shared answers in the middle of the exam on marketing management by manipulating mobile phones using certain software.

A group of around 15 students of Post-Graduate Programme (PGP) and PGP (Business Analytics) courses had formed a WhatsApp group and shared answers in the middle of the exam on marketing management by manipulating mobile phones using certain software.

In a reprieve to nine students of the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) in a case of cheating in the first term exams held through online mode in August 2021, the High Court of Karnataka on Friday directed the institute to give a lenient punishment and award them zero marks as was done for six other students, as the allegations against all of them were identical in nature.

However, the court made it clear that the relief given to the students should not be treated as a precedent in similar cases of exam malpractice in future while giving liberty to IIM-B to take action against them as per the exam manual in case they indulge in unfair practices again.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj passed the order while dismissing an appeal filed by IIM-B questioning December 20, 2021 order passed by a single judge bench.

The single bench had set aside the punishment of expulsion imposed on nine students, and had asked IIM-B to impose lenient punishment of giving zero marks in all the three subjects and make them ineligible for election/selection for any position in the institute or awards or distinctions as was done in the case of six others who were also a part of the same group of students.

The single judge had said that the nine students could not have been treated differently when the exam manual primarily prescribes imposition of lenient punishment of awarding zero marks and this lenient punishment was imposed on six other students facing identical charges.

A group of around 15 students of Post-Graduate Programme (PGP) and PGP (Business Analytics) courses had formed a WhatsApp group and shared answers in the middle of the exam on marketing management by manipulating mobile phones using certain software. This was done even though institute had conducted online exams using mobiles in “locked-mode”.

IIM-B had acted based on an anonymous tip-off about group’s involvement in unfair practice in violation of rules on online exams. Though the students had initially denied their involvement, they later admitted their guilt and apologised after the IIM-B produced materials about their involvement.

The division bench said that there was no infirmity or illegality in the order passed by the single bench as IIM-B has not given any reason for imposing severe punishment of expulsion from the programme on nine students and imposing lenient punishment of awarding zero marks on six others even though all of them were part of the same WhatsApp group.

Also, the division bench said it has considered the fact that they are students of an apex management institute and their careers at stake.

It was contended on behalf of IIM-B that punishment of expulsion against nine warranted based on depth of their involvement in adopting unfair means in the exam to ensure that institute’s integrity is protected.


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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 7:37:51 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/cheating-case-hc-orders-relief-to-9-iim-b-students/article38378448.ece