Wednesday, April 08, 2009

How fraud-proof is JEE?

This allegation comes from Prof. Rajeev Kumar of IIT-KGP, whose RTI application brought to light the horrendous problems in the 2006 JEE -- both Charu Sudan Kasturi and Manoj Mitta have covered these problems extensively in the Telegraph and The Times of India. Rajeev Kumar has collected enormous amount of information both about the 2006 JEE, and its 2007 and 2008 editions. Check out this blog which is devoted to a discussion of his findings.

Thanks to Rajeev Kumar's RTI activism, JEE-2007 and JEE-2008 have been far more transparent, and this trend is likely to intensify with time.

But the problems in JEE-2006 uncovered by Rajeev Kumar remain unresolved. The Calcutta High Court ruled against the view that IITs should make amends by correcting the JEE rank list -- removing some people and adding others. I would guess (but I'm not sure) that this ruling is being appealed in the Supreme Court.

One of Kumar's allegations is that JEE-2006 was rigged to favour children of (some? certain? influential?) IIT professors -- more specifically, he suspects that the Chemistry answer scripts were tampered with.

Take a look at this post (it's a long post, but you will have to scroll down to Section 3 -- "Eliminate possibilities of tampering ... ) which presents a lot of circumstantial evidence to bolster his case.

The most damning is the one about IIT-KGP's "revelation" that it shredded the JEE-2006 answer scripts in late 2006 -- against its own explicitly stated policy of preserving all exam-related documents for a year. More importantly, this "shredding of evidence" happened while the institution's actions on many aspects of JEE-2006 were being questioned through a legal case.

You should not be surprised that the destruction of JEE-2006 answer scripts was revealed only with the help of the Right To Information Act.

Do read that post and decide for yourself how strong the case really is. I would take his evidence quite seriously because (a) he has been pursuing this case against his own institution -- openly, and through our courts and information commissions -- possibly in the face of opposition from his colleagues, (b) he has been proved correct many times, and (c) IIT-KGP hasn't covered itself with glory through its post-JEE-2006 actions (the shredding of answer scripts is quite revealing).

And I would add that, to my knowledge, he has not been sued by the IITs for disseminating false / defamatory information about them.


  1. chakresh said...

    what is it with you and JEE, I am a reader of your blog for last two years, and you have written atleast 25 posts on JEE problems.
    How come so?

  2. L said...

    I recall in the 1970s, when I was at IIT, there was a similar case of some faculty member tampering with the JEE. Nothing much was done about it as far as I know, but then I was only a student at taht time. Does anyone remember what that was about?

  3. Abi said...

    @Chakresh: If you have to ask "what is it with you and JEE?" after my 25+ posts in two years, I guess my writing has just not been clear enough. In the next 25 posts, I will try my best to write as clearly as possible.

    @L: Thanks for that snippet about the seventies. I certainly haven't heard about that episode. Let's see if some commenter comes forward with some details.

  4. shyam said...

    My blood boils as i read the post of prof Rajeev kumar..Its been 5 years since i gave my JEE, but still the injustice makes me ver very angry. Nothing is impossible i guess.
    I can only think of the pressure Prof Rajeev Kumar must have been subjected to..

    @chakresh. I guess you are from an IIT and I think you are a student. I just wanted to let you know that there is a LOT of arrogance in your 2 lines.

  5. cipher said...

    Can this be really true. It shatters the halo of superhuman excellence that IITs have created around them.

  6. Niket said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  7. Niket said...

    [The previous comment was deleted because I did not know if one thing I wrote could be in the public domain.]


    I can assure you and your readers that the policies JEE committee has in place are amongst the fairest and most comprehensive I have seen in this country. If the allegations are true, why would the fraud happen only that particular year, not all other years?

    The same table that makes you think there is circumstantial evidence that answer books were tampered with makes me think that there is circumstantial evidence that "management's victim" (bold in the original) is directly or indirectly responsible for this website.

    That does not mean I support the idea of JEE: I do not. (That is a matter of separate discussion, where I have agreed with you in past.)

    Tampering with question/answer papers is also possible. But the number of wheels that need turned in order to tamper with the results makes that highly improbable, IMHO. Its not going to happen with just one person going in and changing the answerscripts. It will need collusion from several faculty and staff members; most of whom are (irrespective of what you or others hint at) indeed honest.

  8. L said...

    The fact that one episode of malpractise (malpractice?) in JEE,is making so much noise is evidence that it is a rare occurence. Various forms of unfair means go on in University exams. Do you hear anything? No. It's too common.

  9. Anonymous said...

    Dear Professor Niket: Do not be so sure. The tampering does happen but it is rare. You may not know about it. Ask people in the know who are honest. In IISc, one person was removed from GATE because he *tried* to tamper with the results. Ask people who have run GATE or JEE in the past and they *might* tell you when they are drunk.

  10. Anonymous said...

    Isn't one case enough to establish the point? There are irregularities, in not-selecting high scoring candidates who satisfy all the selection criteria. There are serious errors in first-ever model solutions, which were opened for public. What is the sanctity of the so-called "the toughest and best managed examination" of the world? Any corrective step taken for the victims yet? Are these the values/ethics of IITs?

  11. Anonymous said...

    @ Niket writing that most of them are indeed honest. True !!! then, why no action taken by IITs against a VERY FEW those who had played with the system for their own interest and tampered the marks. Thanks to RTI, that all the iron-curtained stuff could come out after much resistance, put up by IITs during all THREE years after the examination. These are the center of excellence at public expense.

    Yet, none is talking about those who were denied admission by a few in IITs.

  12. Anonymous said...

    "Halo of superhuman excellence that IITs have created around them" --- insert maniacal laughter here. Only suckers and losers are under that delusion. The medicine is to visit any IIT and try to get a broken fan fixed with the "help" of non-academic stuff.

  13. Anonymous said...

    will you please post the raw data of IIT JEE 2006 so that we can be sure that there was some bungling?