NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the declaration of results for the 2017 examination held for the selection of staff for government departments and ministries.
While passing the order, a top court bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said that prima facie it appeared from the first look that the entire test was tainted.
The top court observed that it cannot permit people to benefit from the "tainted" 2017 SSC (Staff Selection Commission) Combined Graduate Level and senior secondary level examination and get into service.
The bench stayed the declaration of the results after perusing a status report of the CBI in which aspersions have been cast on several SSC officials and the custodian of the examination paper.
"Prima facie it appears that the entire SSC system is tainted and entire examinations (2017) are tainted. It can't be believed that the custodian of the examination paper is himself leaking the paper," the bench said.
The bench also came down heavily on Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, appearing for CBI, for defending the officials of SSC - a government body which conducts examinations to recruit staff at multiple levels in various ministries and departments.
"Mr Solicitor, it is surprising that you are taking this stand. You are appearing for CBI and you should have said that the examination must be cancelled. Your status report implicates several people and you are taking a different stand," the bench said.
Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Govind Jee, who appeared for petitioner Shantanu Kumar, alleged that the CBI in its first status report had itself admitted that the custodian of examination paper has leaked the paper.
Bhushan sought a stay on the declaration of results, pointing out that it will be released in a day or two.
Lakhs of students had appeared in the SSC examination and have been waiting for the declaration of the results. Those who qualify, enter government services in C and D Category of jobs.
The top court had earlier asked the petitioners to approach the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) secretary and give an appropriate representation.
The petitioner had said that the SSC Combined Graduate Level Examination was being outsourced to a private vendor, which has allegedly been accused in connection with the Satyam scam.
The petitioner said there was a high probability of cheating and malpractices as the private vendor entrusted to conduct the exam by the SSC has further outsourced it in some centres.
On March 20, the apex court had dismissed a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the SSC paper leak case after the Centre informed it that the probe agency has already started investigating it.
The leak of an examination paper of the SSC was allegedly leaked, leading to protests from job seekers.
Amid the protests, the SSC had recommended a CBI probe into it following the demands by the protesting job aspirants.
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.
(With PTI Inputs)