A petition relating to declaration of results of AIBE-XIV is pending before the Andhra Pradesh High Court, whereby a candidate is contesting withholding of his result by the Bar Council of India, "without any valid grounds".
The plea was filed by Advocate Bilaal Ahmed Syed in March this year, aggrieved by the Council's decision to withhold the result of the only Examination Center in the state, on account of mass cheating/ mis-match in Code.
The decision to withhold the results of a total 9 Centers was taken in a meeting of the Monitoring Committee of AIBE, held on September 21, 2020, which the Petitioner has alleged "does not carry any stamp or signature of the High Power Monitoring Committee and thus is it not understood how there can be a one man committee sitting alone decide and with whom there were discussions."
The Petitioner's case is that the AIBE examination itself is an open book exam and thus there is no question of malpractice. Further, results of an entire Center cannot be withheld for the reason that code is mismatch. "It is not the mistake of the candidates who appeared the exam," he submitted.
He nevertheless submitted,
"The rest of the candidates whose codes are not mismatched, have to be considered. I wrote everything correctly including my roll number, question paper set code and all other details. On account of withhold of the results, there is no scope for even verificaiton of answer sheets, nor revaluation of answer sheets. Even the very marks were not revealed."
Significantly, after filing of the present petition, the Council released two different lists, (i) List A containing the list of candidates who had failed earlier but now stood passed; and (ii) List B containing the names of disqualified candidates.
The Petitioner has submitted that his name does not find mention in either List A or List B, and therefore, the reason for withholding his result is "not known".
The Bar Council of India has a counter affidavit in the matter, stating that the candidates who appeared in the given 9 centers but whose results have been withheld will be allowed to appear in the upcoming AIBE exam without payment of examination fee.
The Council has claimed that the ground for withholding the Petitioner's result is "mass cheating" at his Center. They have contended that the Petitioner cannot agitate the Council's decision in view of the Supreme Court's decision in Bihar School Examination v. Subhas Chandra Sinha & Ors., (1970) 1 SCC 648, whereby it was held that-
"This is not a case of any particular individual who is being charged with adoption of unfair means but of the conduct of all examinees or at least a vast majority of them at a particular centre. If it is not a question of charging any one individually with unfair means but to condemn the examination as ineffective for the purpose it was held. Must the board give an opportunity to all the candidates to represent their cases? We think not. It was not necessary for the board to give an opportunity to the candidates if the examinations as a whole were being cancelled."
However, by way of the rejoinder, the Petitioner through Advocate Solomon Raju has pleaded to differentiate between the present case and the above precedent cited by the Council.
"They [BCI] are referring to the decisions of Hon'ble Apex Court, as in those cases, the entire center itself was cancelled with valid reasons. These decisions are not applicable in my case, as some of the candidates were declared passed in List A and the decisions refer to cancellation of the entire Candidates of the center," he submitted.
Further, he has contended that the exam itself is an open book exam and if at all the Committee feels that any candidate was found copying/ cheating, the said candidate alone needs to be punished and not the whole candidates appeared in the center.
"Merely because a single candidate was found with cheating and copying, the entire candidates of the center cannot be punished. This is bad in law," he has argued.
The main petition was filed in the month of March, 2020 however there is delay in the matter due to the lockdown.
Click Here To Download Petition
Click Here To Download Counter Affidavit
Click Here To Download Rejoinder