The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the CBI to file a fresh status report on investigation into the 2017 Staff Selection Commission (SSC) exam paper leak. A bench of Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer asked the probe agency to file the status report by April 23 and posted the matter for hearing on April 24. The SSC is a government body which conducts examinations to recruit staff at multiple levels in various ministries and departments.
The apex court is hearing a plea which has sought probe into alleged paper leak of 2017 SSC Combined Graduate Level (CGL) exam and scrapping of the paper which was purportedly leaked. During the brief hearing on Tuesday, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, told the bench that the court had last time asked CBI to apprise it on the status of probe in the case. To this, the CBI’s counsel said they had earlier filed status report in the matter thrice.
The bench, however, asked CBI to file a fresh status report and said that its copy be given to the counsel representing the petitioner. The apex court on April 1 had allowed SSC to declare result of a re-examination of 2017 SSC CGL held last year. It had also set up a 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 fairly by the government bodies.
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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 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 SSC CGL and combined higher secondary level examination, in which lakhs of students had appeared, saying it seemed that the entire test and system was “tainted”.
The apex court had then favoured cancelling the 2017 SSC examination, and holding it afresh by National Testing Agency or the CBSE “in the interest of students”. However, the Centre had said there was no need for re-examination of entire paper as the leak was “extremely localised” and those behind the leaks were identified and action was taken.
Several lakh students appear in 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.