A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday dismissed an appeal filed by 15-odd students seeking retest of Punjab Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET) 2015, conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, in May.
The high court division bench of justice SS Saron and justice Amol Rattan Singh, after an almost daylong hearing, dismissed the appeal, recording that the single-judge bench had dealt with the matter in its judgment “exhaustively” and that it did not find any “infirmity” in the order. The university has been directed to go ahead with the admissions and complete the same as per a Supreme Court order, by September 30. The detailed judgment would follow later.
The petitioners, Harsimran Kalsi and others, had challenged the single-judge order whereby on September 1, the re-examination of PMET-2015 was ruled out and BFUHS was asked to recast the merit list. Alleging that as many as 40 questions in the paper had errors, the petitioners had sought third-party audit of the question paper. Acting on the appeal, the division bench had directed BFUHS on September 10 not to admit the students till further orders.
The BFUHS counsel, senior advocate Anupam Gupta, on Monday pointed out procedural lapses in filing of the petition and termed the petitioners’ act of not impleading those students who were respondents before the single-judge bench as a “willful and culpable act”. He also answered various queries of the court with regard to questions, conduct of exam and other aspects, including the SC-fixed deadline of September 30 for these admissions.
Senior advocate Rajiv Atma Ram, who appeared on behalf of students who secured good ranks, argued that the university had given admission to more than 700 students and asked what would be their fate now. He also opposed the demand of third-party audit and re-examination, stating that the question paper was examined by several panels on the orders of the high court.
Appearing on behalf of the petitioners, senior advocate Gurminder Singh argued that the paper had been examined by the internal panels and stated that the university was opposing third-party audit because the questions were wrong.
The high court bench took note of the fact that as per the Supreme Court order, the admission process was to be over by September 30. “The best (decision) in the given situation would have been a third-party audit. But we are aware of the deadline (set by the SC),” the high court bench observed. It also asked the petitioners as to why did they agree to examine the question papers in court and could have continued with the demand of making it public. The bench also summoned record pertaining to the case from the single-judge bench during the hearing and after hours of arguments and counter-arguments, decided to dismiss it.
There are a total of 920 MBBS and 1,070 BDS seats across Punjab. Nearly 700 students were admitted by the BFUHS by the time the admission process was stayed by HC on September 10.
Regarding the single-judge order passed on September 1, the bench of justice RK Jain had ruled out a retest but directed the BFUHS to revise the merit list after giving 12 marks to all 15,000 students and additional four marks in two categories of candidates.
The examination was first marred by alleged mismanagement as it was conducted at only one centre (Lovely Professional University, Phagwara) in the entire state, leading to traffic jams that delayed the start of the exam and reportedly caused many candidates to miss the test. In May-end, the students had moved the high court.
May 17: Punjab Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET) 2015 conducted at only one centre in Punjab - Lovely Professional University, Phagwara
May 28: Students approach high court, seek PMET retest
September 1: Single-judge HC bench of justice RK Jain rules out retest but directs Baba Farid University of Health Sciences to revise the merit list after giving 12 marks to all 15,000 candidates and additional four marks in two categories of candidates.
September 10: High court stays admission process of MBBS and BDS seats in Punjab
September 21: HC division bench dismisses 15-odd students’ appeal for retest
September 30: Deadline fixed by the Supreme Court for completing admission process