Close to 30% students admitted to postgraduate courses at AIIMS this year have quit to take up seats in preferred courses at other institutes, wasting dozens of seats at the country's premier medical school.
Their decision to opt out of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences exposes the holes in its admission policy and raises questions about its failure to act on Supreme Court norms.
A total of 138 students have quit PG programmes since 2008 with the numbers rising each year, data provided by AIIMS under the Right to Information Act reveals. Of the 240 admitted this year, 70 have quit. The numbers for 2009 were 37 out of the 180 who were admitted, and for 2008, 31 out of 160.
A cross-section of students who quit, when interviewed by HT, were unanimous in declaring that they left AIIMS to join more sought-after streams of medicine at other institutions.
"AIIMS admissions are in January, before the other schools. I took a low preference course I got into, stayed in the hostel and earned a stipend till I got admission in my course of choice at JIPMER, Pondicherry," said one student, requesting anonymity because the Supreme Court has asked the Medical Council of India to take action against such students.
"It is a matter of huge concern for us. But quite frankly, there is no easy solution," an AIIMS administrator said.
Students who have challenged the AIIMS admission policy in the top court are questioning why it is not acting to stop this wastage of seats.
Instead of punishing the guilty students, as directed by the court, AIIMS is practising a principle that violates another SC order.
It claims it transfers vacated seats to the next round of admissions but the SC has rejected such transfer of seats across academic sessions, arguing that it leads to an effective intake higher than that sanctioned by regulators.
The institute held open counseling sessions till last year. But it withdrew its open counseling this July without any explanation, after announcing it, despite high vacancies.