1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BANGALORE (Original Jurisdiction) WRIT PETITION No. ______/2010 (DB) (PIL) Between Sri. Harsha.N.S Son of A.Narayana Shettigar Aged about 26 years No.21-1, 4th cross, Near SGR Dental college Road Munnekolala Marathahalli, Bangalore And 1. The Convener, CAT 2009 IIM, Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad 2. The Director Indian Institute of Management Bangalore 3. The Principal Secretary Union of India Ministry of Human Resources Development New Delhi

--

Petitioner

--

Respondents

WRIT PETITION FILED UNDER ARTICLES 226 AND 227 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA, 1950 The petitioner above named states as follows:FACTS OF THE CASE 1. The present petition under article 226 of the

Constitution of India is being filed by way of public interest litigation and the petitioner has no personal interest in the matter.

2

2.

The IIMs have a well-deserved reputation for being the best Business schools in the country. A seat in the IIMs is coveted by lakhs of aspirants. This puts tremendous responsibility to ensure that the students are given a fair chance to get in into IIMs. Till last year, the CAT was a paper and pencil based test. However, this year there were various incidents reported across the country about the computerized CAT and the way IIMs have handled the issue is making many students feel that the exams are not fair. The reputation and credibility of the CAT exam has been affected this year.

3.

That the petitioner is one of the candidates who wrote Common Administration Test (CAT) in 2009. The 3rd respondent had called for applications for the CAT 2009 vide Notification dated 30-8-2009(Annexure A). The said test was held between November 28th to December 8th, 2009 and about 2.16 lakh candidates attended the test. The 2009 CAT test was conducted online by Prometric on behalf of the IIMs. Earlier the said examination was conducted in the paper- pencil format. The said test was conducted by IIMs in paper pencil format for the last 33 years. This year they have changed to computer based format. The task of testing was handed over to US based company Prometric. The said test incurred several technical problems from the day one itself affecting around several candidates across 10 days span. Even though the method of computerized test is claimed to be fool proof by the respondents, there were several cases of

3

cheating, mismanagement, leaks, rampant reboots, viruses and general all round mismanagement. 4. The petitioner further submits that, there was a disclaimer regarding the conduct of the CAT exam. As per the said disclaimer, disclosing, or publishing, facilitating reproducing, storing, transmitting,

transmission and storage of the contents of the CAT or any information therein in whole or part thereof in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronically or mechanically for any purpose, shall be in violation of the Indian Contract Act 1872 and or the Copyright Act 1957 and /or the Information Technology Act 2000. Such actions and/ or abetment there as aforementioned may constitute a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years and fine upto Rs.2 Lakhs. Candidates who want to appear for CAT have to agree to a nondisclosure agreement at the time of the test. Computer based testing is a proven and reliable process that is administered to tens of millions of people each year. As with paper and pencil testing, or virtually every other human endeavor a very small number of problems could occur that might prevent a test from being delivered and/ or a result from being generated. In the unlikely event this does occur, every effort will be made to correct the problem, up to and including the administration of another test. The said disclaimer published by the respondent No.1 is marked as Annexure B.

4

5.

The petitioner submits that, there was rampant cheating, mismanagement, failure, throughout India, while the said test was held. There were incidents reported wherein invigilators were waiting for the phone call from superior Prometic officials to start the sessions because of inadequate training. There were many technical problems in the test centers. There was a delay in loading the question paper to the system.

6.

The petitioner further submits that, the test did not start at the same time for all students and neither did it end at the same time in many centers leading to less than ideal testing conditions. The test time frame was 2 ¼ hours. There are reports that questions were repeated from one slot to another, which helps the candidates who take exams in later slots. Further the questions which have come in earlier CAT exams are repeated in CAT 2009. This was made public by dummy candidates and some coaching institutes on Day1. Some coaching institutes even sent messages to students to revise Old CAT papers and conducted special crash courses for students. The said questions were available in public domain. The said documents are herewith produced for the kind perusal of this Hon’ble court (Annexure C). The candidates who have attended the earlier sessions have discussed the questions in public domain like Orkut and other blogs. This was unfair to students who took exams in earlier slots or did not have the privilege of attending a coaching institute or did not have a large friend circle.

5

7.

The petitioner further submits that, even there were cases reported of virus attacks while conducting the test. There were cases reported from Mohali that the candidates have to wait for about 12 hours due to technical fault. Later, Prometric which has been authorized to conduct the CAT exams has issued apology letters to the students and the faculty associations Calcutta at IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore and have passed resolutions demanding

scrapping this year’s computerized test and reconducting the exam in the traditional version. Their combined opinion was that the re-test alone would help assure thousands of IIM aspirants that they receive a fair opportunity during this year. Even now, there are 8000 candidates who could not take the test at the scheduled date. There are experts and alumni of IIMs who openly came out and expressed their opinion that CAT should be conducted with utmost transparency and complete fairness to all its aspirants (Annexure D). Even the questions from previous year CAT papers were being repeated especially in QA section of CAT 2009. Such scenario is automatically biased against those who took the test in the initial slots. The candidates which appeared for the test from Day 2 onwards are at an advantage, as by simply mugging up the QA questions from the last years cat papers they can increase their attempt in QA to as high as 17 to 18 questions out of 20, which in turn causes injustice meted out to those who attempt the papers on the first day or were without

6

the knowledge that previous CAT question papers are being repeated. Consequently, the percentile calculation too will not be fair one, if it is on the basis of raw scores across different days. It is reported that there were CAT questions with errors. In turn, this mismanagement would affect the thousands of real good aspirants to get into the prestigious institutions of IIMs. 8. Further the inadequate trained invigilators caused problem to the test takes while taking the test. The bugs in the test software lead to some students getting extra time for the test. In a typical CAT exam every minute makes a difference in scores and percentiles, this means that some students are getting huge unfair advantage of others. Since there was a poor level of invigilation in many centers it lead to copying as reported. Questions being repeated from one exam slot to another lead to a situation in which dummy candidates and friends could help other candidates in later slots. The questions from CAT were all over the internet in the CAT window period and candidates who had access to them had an unfair advantage. This is extremely unfair to those who took the exams in the first few days. Further this issue has led to a situation where some students have got an unfair advantage over others. 9. The petitioner further submits that, a. Delay in the start of the test: Quite a few of the test-takers have reported a delay of up to 3 hours. This delay not only added to their anxiety of not

7

being able to take the test with a fresh and alert mind, an absolute necessity for a test like the CAT. b. Invigilator issues: Invigilators in many test centers were not appropriately baffled the trained students to by handle giving showed candidates queries or manage the test- taking process, incorrect/confused instructions, others

apathy towards the candidates, which points to inadequate training of the invigilators. c. Test software navigation: Some students have reported that they were instructed not to use the review putting button. them This at instruction has caused to inconvenience to some navigating in the test, thus disadvantage compared candidates who use the review button. d. Test software and hardware interruptions:

Candidates reported an interruption in their test due to various technical glitches like slow loading of test papers, sudden computer shutdown, system hanging and system errors popping etc. e. Unfair advantage: Despite disclaimers student unfair feedback advantage to there the have been in on the open such

official CAT- IIM website, reportedly as per the discussions in public forums, this would give an participants discussions thus violating the basic objective of any test.

8

10.

The petitioner submits that, the said facts were reported in the media, the copy of the media reports is produced for the kind perusal of this Hon'ble Court (Annexure E).Several students have protested the said CAT 2009; the copy of the same is produced for the kind perusal of this Hon'ble Court(Annexure F). The questions papers have been discussed in various forums and files were freely available over internet; same is produced for the kind perusal of this Hon'ble Court.

11.

The IIMs have compared the CAT exam to other internationally accepted exams like GMAT. However, they have failed to replicate the foolproof methods of the GMAT conducting authority GMAC. Past cases of cheating in GMAT have been severely dealt with. The IIMs are trying to imitate GMAT without having foolproof methods in place. The copy of the media reports is produced for the kind perusal of this Hon'ble Court (Annexure F).

12.

Re-exam was conducted in 2003 when a very small number of candidates had access to leaked questions. The copy of the media reports is produced for the kind perusal of this Hon'ble Court (Annexure G).

13.

That to the best of knowledge of the petitioner, no public interest petition raising the same issue is filed before this Hon'ble Court or before any other court.

9

14.

The present petition has been filed on the following amongst other grounds GROUNDS

15.

The said test of the respondents incurred several technical problems from the day one itself affecting several candidates across a 10 day span. Even though the method of computerized testing is claimed to be fool proof by the respondents, there were several cases reported of cheating, mismanagement, leaks, rampant reboots, viruses and general all round mismanagement.

16.

Even though there was a disclaimer regarding the conduct of the CAT exams. As per the said disclaimer, the disclosing, publishing, reproducing, storing, transmitting, storing or facilitating transmission and storage of the contents of the CAT or any information therein in whole or part thereof in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronically or mechanically for any purpose, shall be in violation of the Indian Contract Act 1872 and or the copyright act 1957 and /or the information technology act 2000. Such actions and/ or abetment there as aforementioned may constitute a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years and fine upto Rs.2 Lakhs. Candidates who want to appear for CAT have to agree to a non-disclosure agreement at the time of the test. Computer based testing is a proven and reliable process that is administered to tens of millions of people each year.

10

As with paper and pencil testing, or virtually every other human endeavor a very small number of problems could occur that might prevent a test from being delivered and/ or a result from being generated. In the unlikely event this does occur, every effort will be made to correct the problem, up to and including the administration of another test. But the respondents have not taken any action in this regard even though there was a rampant cheating, mismanagement, failure, had happened throughout India, while the said test was held. There are incidents reported wherein invigilators were waiting for the phone call from superior Prometric officials to start the sessions because of inadequate training. There were technical problems in the test centers. There was a delay in loading the question paper to the system. 17. The test did not start at the same time for all students nor did it end at the same time in many centers leading to less than ideal testing conditions. The test duration was for 2 ¼ hours. There are reports that questions were repeated from one slot to another, which helps the candidates who took exams in later slots. Further the questions which have come up in earlier CAT exams are repeated in the CAT 2009 question. The said questions were available on public domain. The candidates who have attended the earlier sessions have discussed the questions in public domain like Orkut and other blogs.

11

18.

Even there are cases reported of virus attack while conducting the test. There are cases were reported from Mohali that the candidates have to wait for about 12 hours due to technical fault. Later, Prometric which has been authorized to conduct the CAT exams has issued apology letters to the students and the faculty associations at IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta have passed resolutions demanding to scrap this year’s computerized test and re-conduct the traditional version. Their combined opinion was that the re-test alone would help assure thousands of IIM aspirants that they receive a fair opportunity during this year. Even there are 8000 candidates who could not take the test at the schedule dates. There are experts and alumni of IIMs who have openly come out and expressed their opinion that CAT should be conducted with utmost transparency and complete fairness to all its aspirants. Even the questions from previous year CAT were being repeated especially in QA section of CAT 2009. Such scenario is automatically biased against those who have taken test on the first day or ignorant about old CAT questions being repeated. The candidates who appeared for CAT 2009 after first day are at an advantage as by simply mugging up the QA questions from the last years cat papers they can increase their attempt in QA to as high as 17 to 18 questions out of 20, which in turn causes injustice meted out to those who attempt the papers on the first day. Consequently, the percentile calculation too will not be fair one, if it is on the basis of raw scores

12

across different days. It is reported that some CAT questions had errors. In turn this mismanagement would affect the thousands of real good aspirants to get into the prestigious institutions of IIMs. 19. The bugs in the test software leading to some students getting extra time for the test. In a typical CAT exam every minute makes a difference in scores and percentiles, this means that some students are getting huge unfair advantage of others. Since there was poor level of invigilation in many centers it lead to copying. As reported, questions were being repeated from one exam slot to another. This is extremely unfair to those who took the exams on the first few days. Further this issue has led to a situation where some students have got an unfair advantage over others. 20. Delay in the start of the test: Quite a few of the testtakers have reported a delay of up to 3 hours. This delay not only added to their anxiety not able to take the test with a fresh and alert mind, an absolute necessity for a test like the CAT. 21. Invigilator issues: Invigilators in many test centers were not appropriately trained to handle candidate’s queries or manage the test- taking process. They baffled the students by giving incorrect/confused instructions; candidates. others showed apathy towards the

13

22.

Test

software

navigation:

Some

students

have

reported that they were instructed not to use the review button. This instruction has forced some navigating in the test, thus putting them at disadvantage compared to candidates who use the review button. 23. Test software and hardware interruptions:

Candidates reported an interruption in their test due to various technical glitches like slow loading of test, sudden computer shutdown, system hanging and system errors popping etc., 24. Unfair advantage: Despite disclaimers on the official CAT- IIM website, reportedly as per the student feedback there have been open discussions, this would give an unfair advantage to the participants in such discussions thus violating the basic objective of any test. GROUNDS FOR INTERIM PRAYER 25. The grounds urged to the main petition may be read as grounds for interim prayer. 26. If the further proceedings of CAT 2009 are not stayed, the petitioner and other candidates would be put to severe hardship, loss and injury. PRAYER WHEREFORE, for the reasons stated above, this Hon'ble Court may be pleased to issue such appropriate writ, order or

14

direction as this Hon'ble Court may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of the case be pleased to Direct the respondents 1 and 3 authorities to

a)

cancel the earlier CAT 2009 and re-conduct the CAT 2009 in paper pencil format which can ensure it to be fool-proof, as the CAT 2009-online test was a failure due to the malafide administration and consequent infringement of the legal rights of the candidates of CAT 2009; b) Grant such other relief/s as this Hon'ble Court deems fit, in the interest of justice and equity. INTERIM PRAYER Pending disposal of the above writ petition, the petitioner prays that this Hon'ble Court be pleased to stay the further proceedings in CAT 2009 and direct the respondents not to announce the results of CAT 2009, in the interest of justice.

Bangalore Date:

Advocate for Petitioner

ADDRESS FOR SERVICE SIJI MALAYIL AND ASSOCIATES Advocates No.6, Murphy Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore – 560 008

15

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BANGALORE WRIT PETITION No. ______/2010 (DB) (PIL) Between Sri. Harsha.N.S And The Convener, CAT 2009 IIM, Ahmedbad, And others -Petitioner

--

Respondents

VERIFYING AFFIDAVIT

I, Harsha.N.S Son of A.Narayana Shettigar Aged th about 26 years No.21-1, 4 cross, Near SGR Dental college Road Munnekolala Marathahalli, Bangalore, do hereby solemnly affirm and state on oath as follows:1. I am the petitioner in the above case. I know the facts of the case. Hence I am swearing to this affidavit. 2. I submit that, the averments made in the petition from paras 1 to 26 are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.
I, the deponent do hereby verify and declare that the averments made above are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, information and belief. Identified by me

Advocate Bangalore Date:

Deponent Sworn to before me

16

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BANGALORE WRIT PETITION No. ______/2010 (DB) (PIL) Between Sri. Harsha.N.S And The Convener, CAT 2009 IIM, Ahmedabad, And others SYNOPSIS
Sl. No. 1 2. Events Dates Notification calling for the students for the 30th August CAT 2009 2009 Date of CAT 2009 fixed 28th November – December 7th 2009 Date of commencement of CAT 2009 28th November 2009 Date of completion of CAT 2009 December 8th 2009 Petitioner prefers this PIL petition

--

Petitioner

--

Respondents

3. 4. 5.

challenging the method adopted for CAT 2009.

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE

The IIM’s have well-deserved reputation for being the best Business schools in the country. A seat in the IIM is coveted by Lakhs of aspirants. This puts tremendous responsibility to ensure the students are given fair chance to get in into the IIMs. Till last year, the CAT was a paper and pencil based test,

17

the various incidents reported across the country about computerized CAT and the way IIMs have handled the issue is making many students feels that the exams are not fair. The reputation and credibility of the CAT exam has been affected this year. That the petitioner is one of the candidates who wrote Common Administration Test (CAT) in 2009. The 3rd respondent had called for applications for the CAT 2009 vide Notification dated 30-8-2009. The said test was held between November 20 to December 8, 2009 and about 2.16 Lakhs candidates attended the test. The 2009 CAT test was conducted by Prometric in an on-line format. Earlier the said examination was conducted in the paper pencil format. The said test was conducted by the IIM in paper pencil mode for the last 33 years. This year they have changed to computer based format. The task of testing was handed over to US based company called Prometric. The said test incurred several technical problems from the day one itself affecting several candidates across a 10 day span. Even though the method of computerized test is claimed to be fool proof by the respondents, there are several rampant cases reboots, of cheating, and mismanagement, leaking, viruses

general all round mismanagement. The petitioner further submits that, there was a disclaimer regarding the conduct of the CAT exams. As per the said disclaimer, the disclosing, publishing, reproducing, storing, transmitting, storing or facilitating transmission and storage of the contents of the CAT or any information therein in whole or part thereof in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronically or mechanically for any purpose, shall be in

18

violation of the Indian Contract Act 1872 and or the copyright act 1957 and /or the information technology act 2000. Such actions and/ or abetment there as aforementioned may constitute a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years and fine upto Rs.2 Lakhs. Candidates who want to appear for CAT have to agree to a non-disclosure agreement at the time of the test. Computer based testing is a proven and reliable process that is administered to tens of millions of people each year. As with paper and pencil testing, or virtually every other human endeavor a very small number of problems could occur that might prevent a test from being delivered and/ or a result from being generated. In the unlikely even this does occur, every effort will be made to correct the problem, up to and including the administration of another test. The petitioner submits that, there was a rampant cheating, mismanagement, failure, had happened throughout India, while the said test was held. There are incidents reported wherein invigilators were waiting for the phone call from superior Prometric officials to start the sessions. There were some technical problems in the test centers. There was a delay in loading the question paper to the system. The petitioner further submits that, the test did not start at the same time for all students and neither did it end at the same time in many centers leading to less than ideal testing conditions. The test time frame was 2 ¼ hours. There are reports that questions were repeated from one slot to another, which helps the candidates who took exams in later slots. Further the questions which have come up in earlier CAT exams are repeated in the CAT 2009 question. The said

19

questions were available on public domain. The candidates who have attended the earlier sessions have discussed the questions in public domain like Orkut and other blogs. The petitioner further submits that, a. Delay in the start of the test: Quite a few of the test-takers have reported a delay of up to 3 hours. This delay not only added to their anxiety not able to take the test with a fresh and alert mind, an absolute necessity for a test like the CAT. b. Invigilator issues: Invigilators in many test centers were not appropriately trained to handle candidate’s queries or manage the test- taking process. They baffled the students by giving incorrect/confused instructions; others showed apathy towards the candidates. c. Test software navigation: Some students have reported that they were instructed not to use the review button. This instruction has caused inconvenience to some navigating in the test, thus putting them at disadvantage compared to candidates who use the review button d. Test software and hardware interruptions: Candidates reported an interruption in their test due to various technical glitches like slow loading of test, sudden computer shutdown, system hanging and system errors popping etc., e. Unfair advantage: Despite disclaimers on the official CAT- IIM website, reportedly as per the student feedback there have been open discussions, this would give an unfair advantage to the participants in such discussions thus violating the basic objective of any test.
Hence this writ petition filed by the petitioner in the interest of public to ensure justice.

Place: Bangalore Date:

Advocate for Petitioner

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.