It was on October 18, 2020 that the ICMAI took the decision to hold home-based online tests. This decision was taken overlooking the reservations expressed by three senior members of the council regarding home-based online test, according to the petitioner. In a reply to an application under the RTI, the ICMAI informed that about 65% of the students had opted for the CENTER-BASED Examination. In spite of that, the Institute continued to persist with its earlier decision of Home-based remote AI-proctored examination for about 23,500 students.
Contention of the petitioner:
- According to the petitioner, the online home-based exams were conducted by the same vendor which had already failed in providing reliable Remote Proctoring for the National Law Admission Test(NLAT) of September-2020, which was ultimately set aside by the Supreme Court (Rakesh Kumar Agarwalla & Another Vs. National Law School of India University Bengaluru and Others).
- The petitioner alleges that “mass-scale cheating” was reported when the exams started in January 2021 wherein the answers were circulated on WhatsApp and live exam sessions were shared on Social media.
Though the students reported such instances to the authorities, the petitioner alleges that no action was taken.
- Petitioner also alleges that ICAI, instead of taking cognizance of large-scale cheating complaints, issued a statement which slammed the reports of cancellation of exams as "false propaganda". Further, the ICMAI said in the circular that it has lodged an FIR against "miscreants trying to degrade the dignity and integrity of the examination".
- The petitioner says that even two months after widespread reporting of malpractices in the Examination, the Institute has not initiated any forensic verification of video-evidence submitted by the students.
- The petitioner further says that diverse technical glitches showed up in the live-examination, and human-proctor support was found to be grossly inadequate. This led to the affected students frantically writing to the Examination Department. The complaints were so overwhelming that the Examination Department was immobilised and couldn't answer them at all, thereby leaving exam-facing students in panic, the petitioner alleges.
“Instead of acknowledging the proctoring failures and initiating effective counter-measure OR suspending further conduct of the examination, the Institute chose to label all Whistle-blowers as TROUBLE-MAKERS, directed them to cease sharing their concerns publicly and threatened them of debarring for up to FIVE YEARS,” the petition says.It is said that the exams got stretched over a period of 8 weeks, for 24 days, from 03.01.2021 to 24.02.2021 instead of normal schedule of just 8 days due to severe technical glitches.