In a decision impacting over six lakh students across the country, the Supreme Court on Monday cancelled the All-India Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Entrance Test held on May 3, 2015 due to exam fraud and ongoing investigation. It directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to hold a fresh examination within four weeks.
Any attempt to save the exam will “leave merit a casualty and generate frustration among genuine students”, the apex court said in its 41-page judgment.
A Bench of Justices R.K. Agrawal and Amitava Roy held that if the court allowed the May 3 exam to survive, a wrong message would be sent that crime pays and students would be encouraged to resort to unfair means.
What’s most important, the court held, is to sustain the public’s faith in the exam system as a fair, transparent and credible method to evaluate the merit and worth of the candidates.
‘Price has to be paid’ “We are aware that the abrogation of the examination would result in some inconvenience to all concerned and that some extra time would be consumed for holding a fresh examination. This, however, is the price the stakeholders would have to suffer in order to maintain the impeccable and irrefutable sanctity and credibility of a process of examination,” Justice Roy wrote in the judgment.
The court exhorted the authorities to consider the conduct of the fresh exams as a “collective challenge.” It said fresh exams should be in compliance with the norms and “mindful” of the fact that the academic session is scheduled to start from August 1.
Plea to ‘segregate’ results rejected
The Court while cancelling the All-India Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Entrance Test held on May 3, 2015, took into account that there was no guarantee that the police would be able to round up all the illegal beneficiaries of the cheating scandal.
In such a case, those who escape the police net would steal a march over genuine candidates by reaping the benefit of their illegality.
“The examination has become suspect. At present, the examination stands denuded of its sanctity as it is not possible to be cleansed of all the participating beneficiary candidates with certainty,” the judgment said.
The court dismissed the Central Board of Secondary Education’s suggestion to segregate the exam results of genuine students from the 44 candidates presently identified by the police as “beneficiaries” in the scandal. It also disagreed with the Board that a re-examination would see a delay of three to four months.
Police reports said 358 suspected mobile numbers were used and about 300 special vests fitted with SIM cards and Bluetooth devices were sneaked into exam halls. Seven persons, including two doctors and an MBBS student, have been arrested so far.
Students wore sophisticated listening devices in specially-made hidden vests to the exam halls.
"Why should six lakh people be asked to take up the examination all over again and we should find the number of beneficiaries.”
Bench asks CBSE not to declare the AIPMT results till verdict.