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AIPMT 2015 paper leak lawyer Vaibhav Choudhary explains why Monday’s SC judgment may cancel medical entrance exam

AIPMT: Shades of Grey or black and white?
AIPMT: Shades of Grey or black and white?

India’s top undergraduate medical entrance exam the CBSE All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test (AIPMT) 2015 may be cancelled on Monday after today’s observation from Supreme Court justice Amitava Roy that the sanctity of the exam had been compromised this year. Justice Roy was hearing three writs that had asked for the 3 May exam to be cancelled.

The Indian Express reported that the bench said today: “The examination stands vitiated even if one student is being benefited illegally. We are not holding CBSE guilty as such. Taking into consideration the past such incidents, CBSE ought to have been cognisant of these things. It had been happening for last two-three years.” However, solicitor general Ranjit Kumar reportedly said for CBSE: “6.3 lakh students cannot be made to take the exam afresh when only 44 students have been found involved in taking benefits through unfair means.”

The three writs (WP 298/2015, WP 299/2015 and WP 305/2015) were filed by candidates who had appeared in the exam on 3 May, praying for its result to be stayed. The original schedule for result declaration was 5 June.

Advocate Vaibhav Choudhary explained that 22 candidates were caught cheating at various centres across the country on the date of the exam and were handed over to the police which has now, through its investigation, found 24 more such candidates, as also reported in papers.

Choudhary, who is appearing with senior advocates Jaideep Singh and Rajiv Gupta for the 21 petitioners who have filed one of the writs, told Legally India that Rohtak inspector general Shrikanth Jadhav filed the police investigation report in court today stating that although 43 candidates had so far been apprehended for use of unfair means, this number was not conclusive.

The IG’s report details the modus operandi of the cheaters. Candidates in the examination hall took snapshots of the question paper at 1030am – the minute the test commenced - and sent these over instant messaging service Whatsapp, to a person sitting in Behror, Rajasthan who solved the paper and then distributed, through Whatsapp, the answers along with the answer key to all candidates who had prepaid for this service. The police have retrieved more than 300 SIM cards which were used in the process, and have identified around 10 states in the exam centres of which candidates had cheated.

Choudhary added that the IG also submitted in court today that the mastermind behind the paper leak was the 2011 AIIMS entrance paper leak accused Ravi Attri as had been reported by Express. Attri had masterminded the 2011 leak in the same manner as the AIPMT leak.

Senior advocate Singh today advised the court that it may follow the order and guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in the 2011 AIIMS case.

The IG told the court that the investigation could go on for months, even years, and draw up more candidates who had cheated in the 3 May exam, yet the number could never be said to be conclusive.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who was appearing for the CBSE alongside additional solicitor general Pinky Anand, asked the court to cancel the result of the 46 candidates who had been caught so far but to not cancel the entire exam as it will take not less than four months for the CBSE to organize a re-exam.

However the petitioners submitted instances of re-tests for major competitive exams such as that of the Aligarh Muslim University this year, or the 2004 AIPMT exam, organised in a shorter period.

The vacation bench of justices RK Agrawal and Amitava Roy observed that the sanctity of the entire exam had been compromised due to the impossibility of the police coming up with a conclusive list of candidates who had cheated the 3 May exam.

The bench will pronounce its judgment in the case on Monday (15 June).

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