During the March 2016 final examination of Karnataka Pre-University (12th) (PU) II courses, the chemistry question paper was found to be leaked. The PU helpline received a call in the morning of the examination from an “II PU science student in Bengaluru”, who later sent leaked paper through WhatsApp. The questions were matching 100% including the order of the questions with the actual paper.
Within 10 days of the incident, a re-examination was scheduled, but unbelievably, the question paper of the re-examination was also leaked, leading to the authorities canceling the re-exam.
40 officials of the exam section of the Department of Pre-University Education were suspended with immediate effect. It also resulted in transfer of PU board director Pallavi Akurathi, a 2009 batch IAS officer, to another state department.
Protest and Re-exam
Students of Karnataka PU and their parents conducted widespread protest across the state, citing that the consecutive cancellation of exams was having a deep impact on 2.74 lakh students who appeared for the examination. Many student organizations and political parties joined the protests, with students even pelting stones at the department and damaging glass windows at DPUE. Finally, a second re-examination was conducted in April.
Arrests due to the leak
18, including the personal assistant of Minister of State for Medical Education Sharanprakash R. Patil were arrested.
Manjunath, a physical education teacher at The New Cambridge PU College, Vijayanagar, Bengaluru, whose wife is said to be an employee in the Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE), sold the question paper on March 20, a day before the exam to various people, including Obalaraju (51), personal assistant to the Minister and whose child was to attend the chemistry exam the next day.
One of the major reasons for such leaks may be the newly-introduced added percentage of PU marks used to tally with Medical and Engineering entrance in college admissions.
Irresponsibility of Treasury department
The PU question papers are distributed to treasury department from the education department almost a week before exams are conducted. A route officer from the education department, along with an armed police constable, deliver the question papers to the treasury, where it is supposed to be kept in safe hands. However, according to a report from several sources, at many centers of treasury department the locks of the room, where the question papers are kept, are not manned by government employees.
Outsourced employees/ locales have access to the rooms’ key where question papers are kept. It has been found that some of the locales broke the seal of the question papers, took photographs and circulated the question papers through WhatsApp, before the examination and safely re-sealed the same in a local Treasury.
Lack of Security
There is not even a single CCTV camera or special locks for the safeguard of this question papers. Though several demands have been made to install CCTV cameras inside the rooms, no such action has been taken.
According to sources, such leaks of question papers have been happening for the last 7-8 years, however, such incidents didn’t get reported and the issue never came out as the then top officials remained silent.
Clean chit to Education Department
After a long probe, the CID has given a clean chit to the Pre-University Education Department (PUE). Senior Officials of the CID have stated that only the treasury is held responsible for the paper leak. The 40 officials who were initially suspended, finally got reinstated in September. Officials from CID also suggested installing CCTV cameras.
Almost seven months have gone since the paper leaks got unfolded, but the treasury department has not taken steps so far to secure the question papers of PU examinations.
Sign our petition and join us to seek solution from Principal Secretary of Finance Dept, Government of Karnataka
- CCTV cameras have to be installed in every Treasury Strong Room from State to Taluk level Treasuries.
- The CCTV footages should be linked to the district police control room to ensure 24/7 surveillance on the question papers
- The Treasury Strong rooms should have biometric locks which give access to only an authorized departmental person.
Sign the petition asking the Principal Secretary of Finance Dept, Government of Karnataka, to take care of the above concerns, so that the same issue of question paper leaks do not take place the next year.