The Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre on a plea seeking probe into the alleged leak of question paper for Staff Selection Commission (SSC) exam conducted between February 17 to February 21. The date for the the hearing has been fixed for March 19, ie: next Monday. The plea was filed by Adv Manohar Lal Sharma which was admitted earlier by SC to be heard by Bench of Hon’ble Justice R.K. Agarawal & Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre.
Petitioner, apex court lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma, mentioned the matter on Monday before a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, and also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
Underlining that it was a serious matter involving job prospects of thousands of students, Mr Sharma said that the apex court should intervene and pass a direction in the case.
The Supreme Court set March 12 as the date for hearing the plea. Mr Sharma made respondents (Parties) as the Staff Selection Commission, CBI and Ministry of Home Affairs. He also sought stricter action against those involved in this case.
Following the allegations of exam paper leak in the Combined Graduate Level-Test Tier II examination on February 21, the SSC had cancelled the exam citing technical issues.
Union government on March 5 ordered CBI investigation and urged students to call of protests.
“We have accepted the demands of the protesting candidates and have given orders for a CBI inquiry. The protests should now stop,” union home minister Rajnath Singh had said.
In the past week, some aspirants shaved their heads while performing a “funeral ceremony” of the Commission. Female protesters celebrated Women’s Day with their mouths covered with black bands and hands tied. Since February 27, they have been accusing the SSC of blatant corruption in the way it conducts the exams.
What do they want? A time-bound CBI probe under the supervision of the Supreme Court into all SSC exams and commission’s functioning. Secondly, they demand a stay order on all SSC exams until completion of CBI inquiry into the matter.
However, for these thousands of protesters, the struggle is much bigger.
With no access to female toilets and before-time closure of gates of the nearby metro station, women are left with no choice but to leave the protest site at night.
“We leave by 10-11 pm,” said Priya, a 20-year-old B.Com graduate, who is among the protesters.
“Police shut down nearby female toilets. When mobile toilets were brought in by students, police didn’t allow us to set them up,” she added.
The on-and-off closing of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Metro station— the closest station to the CGO complex — during the protest has added to their woes.
“On the day the police shut down JLN metro station, we walked from Jangpura metro station (the next metro station after JLN on the violet line) to the CGO complex,” said Rajiv, a protester who had appeared for Combined Graduate Level (CGL) exam held on February 20.
The agitators eat fruits and biscuits, whatever they can afford. “No one is helping us in making food arrangements,” said Akshay.
NGO Khalsa Aid is organising langars for the students whenever they can. “Khalsa Aid saw our hardships and the rightness in our demands being raised,” Akshay added.
Throughout the day, the aspirants keep the protest alive by writing poems or sharing their stories with others. On spotting an open window in the SSC office, chants of “SSC chor hai” and “We want justice” rent the air. In between, they look for evidence demanded by SSC Chairman Ashim Khurana to support their claims for “mass cheating” and the alleged leak of question papers.
Read the full story about the scam in our past article: