The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the CBSE not to declare results of the All India Pre-Medical Test till June 10, when the court may take a call on pleas seeking re-conduct of the test following alleged irregularities in the May 3 examination.
A vacation bench of justices Prafulla C. Pant and Amitava Roy granted one more week to Haryana police on Wednesday to file a fresh report indicating the number of beneficiaries of the alleged irregularities in the pre-medical examination.
It asked police to identify as many candidates as possible who had been benefited from the alleged leak.
During the hearing, the bench said it would decide whether to re-conduct the examination after receiving the status report from the police on June 10.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) was to declare the results of the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) on June 5.
“We are fully aware of all this. The bigger issue is that the sanctity of the examination is under suspicion. We want to be doubly sure that there is no alternative but to order re-conduct of the examination,” it said, adding that it does want to take a decision “in haste“.
“We have to be doubly sure. We do not want to be criticised for any action,” it said and asked the police to “hunt” for other beneficiaries.
“We are expecting the probe to conclude,” the bench said, adding that this was “important” to decide the future course of action.
At the outset, the counsel for Haryana police told the court that so far 12 persons have been arrested in the case and 25 students have been identified as beneficiaries of the alleged racket.
One of the police officers told the bench that there are two students among the arrested persons and students of at least ten states were involved in it.
The police, however, expressed inability in getting the exact details of beneficiaries on the ground that SIM cards, used in passing on question papers and the answer keys, were procured by using fake and forged ID cards.
“If 12 persons are already in the net then how is it possible that the kingpin (Roop Singh Dangi) is not nabbed,” the bench said and asked “has he gone abroad?”
Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the petitioners, said it has become almost “impossible to identify beneficiaries of the wide-spread offence” and hence, re-conduct of the test was necessary to maintain its integrity.
“Besides the legal issues, the decision of not holding the examination will cause heart-burn among deserving students. I know the dilemma before this court,” he said.
“We cannot allow you (police) more than one week to identify the beneficiaries as there is a serious time crunch,” the bench said, adding that the “sanctity” of the examination has to be maintained.
The court also said it has to be kept in mind that CBSE has no role in the leak of question papers which have taken place at certain examination centres.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for CBSE, told the court that the Board had already uploaded the answer keys on the site and this has enabled six lakh candidates to get an idea of their performance.
Earlier, the court had expressed unwillingness to hold the AIPMT afresh and directed the Haryana Police to expedite its probe to track the beneficiaries.
Large-scale irregularities including leakage of answer keys for this year’s AIMPT exam came to the light on the exam day, with the investigators informing the court that the answer keys of 123 questions were transmitted through 75 mobile phones in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Haryana.
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 claimed that the investigation carried out by the SIT 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 light of the police probe in several states, suggesting widespread ramification of the alleged leak of answer keys.
It also said the “counselling/admission” on the basis of alleged “vitiated examination” would 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.