The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) today announced re-examination in the Class X mathematics and Class XII economics subjects in the wake of reports of paper leaks even as Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said a new leak-proof system would be put in place for conducting the board exams.
Seeking to reach out to parents and students worried over the alleged incidents of repeated leaks, Javadekar said he has spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprised him about the developments.
He also said that the HRD ministry had initiated an internal probe into the matter.
The Delhi Police's Crime Branch has also begun investigating the alleged leak of the CBSE's Class 12 economics paper and registered a separate case in connection with the alleged leak of the Class 10 mathematics paper.
Top police officials, this evening, also discussed the further line of investigation.
In a circular, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said that dates for the re-examination would be posted on its website within a week.
"The board has taken cognisance of certain happenings in the conduct of certain examinations as are being reported. With a view to uphold the sanctity of the board examinations and in the interest of fairness to the students, the board has decided to re-conduct the examinations for the following subjects," it said.
Panic had gripped Class 12 CBSE students on Monday after claims were made on social media sites that the economics paper had been leaked on WhatsApp.
On March 15, social media was abuzz with reports that the Class 12 accountancy paper had been leaked with the Delhi government saying it had received complaints about it.
This came after the CBSE had denied the claims, saying, "We have checked with all examination centres and the paper was not leaked."
"The source of the circulation of this information is not known yet," the board had said.
The Union HRD minister told reporters that a new leak-proof system would be put in place from coming Monday onwards for conducting CBSE exams.
"It seems some kind of gang is behind this and it is doing it deliberately. A special team is already investigating the matter and the guilty will not spared, the minister told reporters as he faced a barrage of questions about the repeated leaks.
We will ensure no injustice is caused. I just want to tell the parents and children that it is extremely unfortunate that this incident(s) happened, Javadekar said.
He said that the "with the help of technology, put in place a system which is so foolproof that there is no leak".
"We have also decided to tighten security for the time when papers are being distributed in the examination centres, the minister said but did not elaborate the details of the proposed new system.
Refuting charges against the CBSE, he said it has a solid system in place and conducts 24 exams annually for 1.2 crore students.
But if someone is leaking it or there is some loophole in it and taking that into consideration, a new system will be put in place from Monday which will ensure there is no such leakage, he underlined.
Meanwhile, Alok Kumar, joint commissioner of police, crime, confirmed a case was registered yesterday following a complaint by the Board.
Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) R P Upadhyay and Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar also held a meeting with Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik in the evening to discuss the future course of the investigation.
Another officer privy to the probe said the case has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including cheating.
Angry parents and student took to Twitter for venting their anger and displeasure.
Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken tweeted about how his son and many other students have been left dejected because of these reports.
"My son Aujaswi studied really hard for #CBSE Class X Board Math Exams held today. His joy of finishing Board Exams was short lived. He is extremely dejected as the Math paper got leaked& this #LeakingGovt will hold the Exam again. I feel sorry for him as lakhs of other students! (sic)," he tweeted.
Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan questioned whether any exam or selection is "scam-proof" in India.
"#Vyapam,AIIMS, #SSC & now #CBSE exam leak through WhatsApp. Is there any exam or selection which is safe&scam proof in India? Even after PM's app leaks our personal data to US firm, our govt tells us that Aadhar data is safe behind thick walls! Incredible!," he posted on the micro-blogging site.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala attacked the Modi government and said that it should be renamed as 'Paper Leak Government'.
Pranav Viju, a candidate for the Class 10 examination, said he was "surprised" to read reports about the leak.
"Today I came home happily finishing y #CBSE class 10 math paper & was surprised to find in the news that the paper was leaked & we have to rewrite our exams now, like literally I don't understand what are the officials doing (sic)," he tweeted.
Student activist Shehla Rashid expressed solidarity with the students who will have to take the examinations again.
"?We are in solidarity with students and youth protesting against CBSE Exam paper leak. We will struggle and force our politicians to take our future seriously. Vyapam, SSC & CBSE Leaks have made a mockery of education. #March4Education."
Many other students also took to social media to express their displeasure.
"As a student of @ShivNadarSchool I strongly feel that CBSE Maths paper should be held again because it is unfair on the part of students who had worked hard," Reva said on Twitter, urging students not to fear taking the exam again.
(With inputs from PTI)