The Supreme Court on Thursday assured students who took the May 3 All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) that it would cancel the exam, if necessary, and in case the Haryana Police probing the alleged leak of the paper failed to identify in time those who cheated during the test.
A vacation bench of justice AK Sikri and justice UU Lalit fixed May 26 to hear a batch of petitions filed by some of the candidates urging the court to direct the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to hold the exam again as it was marred by the paper leak. More than 6 lakh students appeared in the exam for 2,500 medical seats across the country.
“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,” the vacation bench said.
During the hearing, the bench also observed: “Why should six lakh people be asked to take the examination all over again… we should try to find out the number of beneficiaries.”
The SC said the need to cancel the exam may not arise if the special investigation team (SIT), set up by the Haryana government, was able trace the alleged cheaters.
To enable the team to speed up its probe, the SC directed all state and central-law enforcement agencies and mobile service providers to extend all necessary cooperation to the SIT. It directed the SIT to submit a progress report on the next date of hearing.
Haryana’s additional advocate general Anil Grover informed the court that the investigation had revealed that more than 700 students benefited from the mass cheating and they belonged to other states.
The SIT also submitted a preliminary report before the SC, in which it was mentioned that alleged mastermind Roop Singh Dangi had used multiple mobile phones and SIM cards to convey answers to the examinees. He took the help of government and private doctors for the purpose. Answer keys to the students were sent an hour before the exam through WhatsApp and SMS, the report added.
The SIT said Dangi was untraceable, but six persons who got in touch with the students had been arrested.
The Haryana police said the accused had used specially designed undergarments for men and women to conceal the mobiles and SIM cards. The undergarments were designed by a Delhi-based trader, who had since been arrested.
Noting that the entire plot was very well executed, the bench told the CBSE counsel, senior advocate Maninder Singh, that the board needed to adopt foolproof security measures for the next exam, such as installing jammers to ensure that no phones worked near the centres.
“We are sitting with an open mind that (cancellation) we well decide after the investigations are over,” justice Sikri told some agitated parents present during the heari