New Delhi: In a relief to lakhs of students who appeared in the SSC combined graduate level and higher secondary level examinations in 2017, the Supreme Court Thursday paved the way for the declaration of results by vacating its stay on it.
A bench headed by Justice S A Bobde also constituted a 7-member committee, headed by retired apex court judge Justice G S Singhvi, to suggest measures to make entrance exams meant for jobs and admissions in educational institutions foolproof.
The committee will give its report to the court within three months.
On August 31 last year, the top court had stayed the declaration of result of the 2017 Staff Selection Commission exams which were marred by allegations of paper leak, saying it seemed that the entire test and system was "tainted".
The bench, also comprising Justice S A Nazeer, made it clear that declaration of results of the examination would be subject to final outcome of the case.
The other members of the committee are the co-founder of tech giant Infosys Nandan Nilekani, renowned computer scientist Vijay Bhatkar, renowned mathematician R L Karandikar, Sanjay Bhardwaj and a representative each from the Centre as well as the CBI.
Advocate Govind Jee, appearing for petitioner Shantanu Kumar, told the bench that a committee should be constituted to look into the matter and suggest systematic changes in the conduct of such exams in future.
The committee will look into several aspects, including whether as per the investigation done by the CBI in the paper leak of 2017 exams, is it possible to conclude that the entire examination process could have been tainted by leakage and if yes, then how the beneficiaries would be identified.
It will also suggest measures which may be required to be taken for future examinations with a view to curb the possibility of any malpractices.
On April 16, the apex court had directed the CBI to file a fresh status report on the investigation into the 2017 SSC exam paper leak.
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 the alleged paper leak and scrapping of the paper, 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.
The apex court had earlier 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.