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SSC paper leak case: SC allows declaration of re-examination’s result

April 2, 2019

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Staff Selection Commission to declare the result of a re-examination of SSC Combined Graduate Level (CGL) 2017 held last year. 

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer said that injunction granted on August 31  last year on the declaration of result for SSC CGL, 2017, would not continue on a re-examination conducted on March 9, 2018.

The top court said that lakhs of unemployed youths have suffered because someone from the organisation was corrupt.

It also set up a high powered committee comprising Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of tech giant Infosys, and renowned computer scientist Vijay P Bhatkar to suggest reforms for conducting of competitive examinations fairly by government bodies. 

The bench said that it will decide the terms of reference for the high powered committee at the later stage and posted the matter for further hearing on April 9.

The examination papers of the SSC CGL 2017 were allegedly leaked, leading to huge protests from job seekers for several days.

Amid the protests, the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) had recommended a CBI probe into the allegations of paper leak.

On August 31, last year, the apex court had stayed the declaration of result of the SSC CGL and Combined Higher Secondary Level (CHSL) Examination held in 2017, in which lakhs of students had appeared, saying it seemed that the entire test and the system was “tainted”.

At the outset, the bench on Monday asked the Centre to consider re-conducting the 2017 examination as several of the papers were alleged to be tainted.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre said that there was no need for re-examination of entire papers as the leak was “extremely localised” and those behind the leaks were identified and action was taken.

He said that there was allegation with regard to one paper which was held on February 21, 2018 and the SSC has cancelled that paper and a re-examination was taken on March 9, which was not tainted.

The hearing witnessed some heated exchange between advocate Prashant Bhushan and Mehta which led the court to ask both lawyers to not address each other.

Bhushan along with advocate Govind Jee alleged that SSC CGL and SSC High Secondary Level (HSL) examinations of 2017, were both tainted and fresh examination needs to be conducted.

Mehta on other hand contended that SSC HSL was not at all tainted but accepted that question paper was leaked at “individual level” for February 21, 2018 examination of SSC CGL, 2017.

“If there was no taint and if you are able to prove that then we will not hold the results and you can declare it,” the bench said adding that issue requires detailed hearing.

On January 10, the apex court had favoured setting up of a three-member high-powered committee comprising Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder of tech giant Infosys, and renowned computer scientist Vijay P Bhatkar to suggest reforms for conducting of competitive examinations.

The top court had then ruled out vacating the stay on the declaration of result of SSC CGL and CHSL examinations held in 2017, in which lakhs of students had appeared.

The apex court had earlier favoured cancelling the 2017 SSC examination, and holding it afresh by the National Testing Agency or the CBSE “in the interest of students”.

The SSC is a government body which conducts examinations to recruit staff at multiple levels in various ministries and departments. Several lakh students appear in the SSC examination each year and enter government services in Group C and D categories of jobs once they qualify.

The SSC Combined Graduate Level exam has a four-tier system, in which tier I and tier II are computer-based, while in tier III and IV, job applicants take up a descriptive paper and a computer proficiency test or skill test.

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