Reconducting the All India Pre-Medical Test examination, which saw large scale irregularities like leakage of answer keys, would be the “last resort”, the Supreme Court said on Thursday and asked Haryana police to track down the beneficiaries.
“We are sitting with an open mind. We will decide it...So far as conducting re-examination is concerned, it is the last resort only,” a vacation bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and U.U. Lalit said without ruling out re-conduct of AIPMT as demanded by some parents.
During the hearing, it also observed “why should six lakh people be asked to take up the examination all over again and we should try to find out the number of beneficiaries.”
The court asked the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Haryana police to trace out the actual numbers of beneficiaries of alleged irregularities in the test so that “wheat can be separated from chaff”.
It also directed the law enforcement agencies of other states, mobile service providing companies to assist Haryana police in the investigation and posted the matters for May 26.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), said “let us not magnify the problem and we should focus on the real issue.”
The ASG further said the court should keep in mind the fact that six lakh students have taken this examination.
To this, the bench said “We are conscious of all this.”
Meanwhile, Haryana police also filed the status report giving details of the probe conducted so far and said six persons have been arrested till date.
One of the officers told the court that around 1100 hours of May 3 when the tests were being conducted, the police got the information that some doctors were getting the question papers leaked.
Later, the answer keys of 123 questions were transmitted through 75 mobile phones in different states, he said, adding that calls were made to states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Haryana.
The SIM cards, purchased a day before the tests, were de-activated soon after the examination was over, the officer said, adding that around 700 candidates were supplied answers “electronically in examination halls across the country”.
The bench then said the mobile service providers could help the police in locating the actual beneficiaries and asked how much time it would need to get the number of end-users.
Expressing unhappiness over the irregularities, it said “You (CBSE) will have to put jammers and everything in place. You just imagine the level of frustration among the students.”
“Law breakers are always ahead of lawmakers,” the ASG said.
Earlier, the court had issued notices to the Centre, CBSE, Medical Council of India and Haryana on the pleas seeking re-conduct of the AIPMT on grounds of alleged large scale irregularities.
One of the petitions, filed by Tanvi Sarwal through lawyer Prashant Bhushan, said the investigation carried out by the SIT of Haryana into alleged leak of answer keys has revealed that the accused gang operated in different states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Citing news reports, it alleged that the examination conducted on May 3 stood vitiated in the light of police probe carried out in several states, which suggest widespread ramification of the alleged leak of answer keys.
It also said the “counselling/admission” on the basis of alleged “vitiated examination” will violate Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution with respect to genuine candidates, claiming that at least 90 leaked answer keys were transmitted to candidates in consideration of Rs. 15-20 lakh.
It also referred to Shrikant Jadhav, Inspector General of Police, Haryana who has stated that the exam system has failed and may deprive genuine students from getting admission in medical institutions.