The Supreme Court has observed that the discovery of material with a candidate which was meant to use for 'unfair means' during examination would suffice to take action against him/her.
It is not as if only on actual use being made of the material detected by the examiner that action can be taken, the bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph said.
The High Court, in this case [UPSC vs. Mayank Rai], interfered with the action taken against a candidate on the ground that the materials discovered from him cannot be said to be used while undertaking the examination. While disagreeing with the High Court view, the bench observed that educational institutions and the recruitments would require high probity to be maintained. The bench said:
In fact, learned counsel for the appellants is right in contending that the present examination would facilitate an entry into NDA where higher standards are expected in a job profile to defend the country. The position would be no different for the Civil Services Examination. The discovery of relevant material with such candidate, would suffice and it is not as if only on actual use being made of the material detected by the examiner that action can be taken. It would otherwise amount to misplaced sympathy.
However, the bench noticed that, the punishment of debarment for ten years would also not only exclude them from that exam for which the permissible age is 16 to 19 years but would also prevent them from appearing in further examinations as the debarment is for a long period of ten years. While disposing of the appeals, the bench directed the commission to re-examine the quantum of punishment in the given facts of the case at their own discretion as to whether the punishment of debarment can be lowered from 10 years to not more than five years.
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