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The Supreme Court today cancelled the All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test, 2015 (AIPMT) and directed the CBSE to hold fresh exam within a month.
This comes after allegations of leakage of questions papers had appeared in the media prompting 23 students (Petitioners), who had written the AIPMT, to file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking fresh exam.
The judgment was pronounced by a Division Bench of Justices RK Agarwal and Amitava Roy. Senior Advocates Gopal Jain and Jaideep Gupta along with advocates Prashant Bhushan, Vaibhav Choudhary, Bharat Sangal, Vernika Tomar, Chinmayee Chandra and I Abenla had appeared for the Petitioners while Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh had appeared for CBSE. ASG Pinky Anand had represented the Central government
The AIPMT was held on May 3, 2015. Subsequently, reports had appeared in various newspapers on May 4 pertaining to leakage of question papers and arrest of persons in connection with the same. Alarmed by these reports, the Petitioners had filed the present petition seeking cancellation of the exam and holding fresh exam.
The Court had issued notice in the case on May 18 and then proceeded to direct the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to ascertain if the candidates who had resorted to malpractice could be identified in which event the rigour of holding fresh exam could be avoided.
Interestingly, the Court had also observed that cancelling the exam would be resorted to only as a last measure.
However, after the SIT submitted its report on the progress of the investigation, the Court chose to resort to the “last measure” of cancelling the exam. The SIT report revealed that 44 candidates had been confirmed to have availed the benefits of malpractice and leaked question papers, though the numbers could be more given the widespread network and racket involved.
“As has been noticed hereinabove, the disclosures in the investigation suggest that the benefit of answer key has been availed by several candidates taking the examination, by illegal means. Though as on date, 44 such candidates have been identified, having regard to the modus operandi put in place, the numbers of cell phones and other devices used, it is not unlikely that many more candidates have availed such undue advantage, being a part of the overall design and in the process have been 33 unduly benefited qua the other students who had made sincere and genuine endeavours to solve the answer paper on the basis of their devoted preparation and hard labour. In view of the widespread network, that has operated, as the status reports disclose and the admission of the persons arrested including some beneficiary candidates, we are of the opinion, in view of the strong possibilities of identification of other candidates as well involved in such mal practices, that the examination has become a suspect.”
The Court, therefore, categorically held that disqualifying those 44 students will not be a solution to the problem and there cannot be a compromise to the system which will eventually be producing doctors of the country.
“Segregation only of the already 44 identified candidates stated to be the beneficiaries of the unprincipled manoeuvre by withholding their results for the time being, in our comprehension cannot be the solution to the problem that confronts all of us.
Having regard to the fact that the course involved with time would yield the future generations of doctors of the country, who would be in charge of public health, their inherent merit to qualify for taking the course can by no means be compromised.”
Thus, it proceeded to hold the following:
“We have thus no hesitation to order that the All India Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Test stands cancelled. The CBSE would now have to hold a fresh examination at the earliest, by complying with all necessary and prescribed norms, being mindful of the exigency amongst others of 40 the commencement of the academic session which presently stands scheduled to be on and from 01.8.2015. We direct the Board, in the attendant of facts and circumstances to hold the examination within a period of four weeks from today.”
Read the full judgment below.
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