In a move that stunned several hundred thousand students and parents, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Wednesday announced that re-examination will be conducted across the country for Class 10 Mathematics and Class 12 Economics papers. New dates for the examinations will be announced within a week.
While the CBSE did not use the ‘leak’ word, the government said it had “taken serious cognizance of the leak” and a police investigation had been ordered. The board merely said this was being done to “uphold the sanctity of the board examination and in the interest of fairness to students”, and “taking cognizance of certain happenings in the conduct of examinations”.
The Class 10 Mathematics exam held Wednesday was taken by 16,38,428 students, while the Economics paper was held on Monday. A total of 11,86,306 students have registered for the Class 12 examination, the exact figure on how many sat for the Economics exam — a compulsory subject — was not available. Last year, 383,647 students had taken the Class 12 Economics exam.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said, had spoken to HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar who later said: “I have taken serious cognizance of the leak. Looks like a gang of miscreants is doing this. CBSE conducts 24 different examination in a year and does it with fairness. This time, half an hour before the examination, the papers were available on WhatsApp. On the first day itself, we filed a complaint and Delhi Police formed a special team. We are confident the miscreants will be caught and punished. No one has the right to play with the future of students.”
He said that going forward, security will be tightened. The Class X exams get over on April 4, and Class XII on April 12. Earlier, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia had alleged that the Class XII Accountancy paper had also leaked on WhatsApp. After the CBSE announcement, an FIR under IPC sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonesty) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) was registered by the Delhi Police Crime Branch and a dedicated SIT constituted.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Biswajit Saha, Additional Director (Vocational Training), CBSE, said: “From yesterday night, there were pictures of Mathematics questions, which were received on the CBSE chairperson’s email ID. When we checked, we found that those questions were matching with the paper and seemed to be correct. That is why the board decided to hold a re-examination.”
On the Economics paper, Saha said, “Through our different agencies, we were informed. Then we investigated the matter and found certain chances of leakage.” He said that allegations regarding the Accountancy paper were yet to be confirmed, and that they were looking into the matter.
CBSE had earlier denied allegations that the Accountancy and Economics papers had been leaked. With parents and students anxious, sources said the examinations will be held “at the earliest”, and “three options are being explored” to hold the exam. The Opposition, meanwhile, lashed out at the government. Sisodia, in a tweet, said, “Data leak, SSC paper leak, election data leak and CBSE paper leak. Is this the central government or a government of leakage? They cannot handle any organisation.”
Randeep Singh Surjewala of the Congress said, “SSC scam jeopardised the future of over 2 crore youth. CBSE X and XII class paper leak has road hit the aspirations and hard work of lakhs of toiling students. Modiji, your government has imperiled the future of our exam warriors.”