Minutes before the higher secondary certificate (HSC) examination began on Monday, the photographs of three pages of the question paper for Book-keeping and Accountancy subject for commerce stream, with subject code 50, went viral on a mobile chat messenger. While students alleged they received the images 30 minutes before the exam, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) said it is not a case of paper leak.
The exam was scheduled to start at 11am, and according to the rule, the invigilators distributed the question papers in the exam hall at 10.50am. However, some students alleged they received the images on WhatsApp before entering the examination hall. “I received the images at 10.30am. I couldn’t trust its authenticity, so didn’t pay attention to it,” said a student, on condition of anonymity.
The Mumbai division of the state board learned about the messages after newspaper reporters called them at 11.15am. On checking, the board found the images matched the question paper. “We checked the images with the question paper, they were the same,” said Siddheshwar Chandekar, divisional secretary.
Chandekar said the incident cannot be termed a paper leak. “If the students had received the
question paper before 10.30am, we could call it a leak. In this case, it seems the students
photographed the question paper after it was distributed in the exam hall. We will investigate it as an exam malpractice,” he said.
Although it is prohibited in the exam hall, Chandekar admitted there have been instances of students carrying mobile phones.
The divisional board has submitted a detailed report of the incident to the head office of the state board in Pune. No complaints have been filed with the education board or the police so far. “We will look into the report. If need be, we will take help of the cybercrime cell to track the origin of the message,” said Gangadhar Mhamane, chairperson of the board.