The Supreme Court on Friday came down heavily on the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) that opposed cancellation of this year’s All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), contending there was no guarantee that mass cheating would not be repeated again.
“You (CBSE) are an institution conducting the exam. Why did you not take precautions? This modus operandi was followed last year also. You must have been aware,” a bench of Justices RK Agarwal and Amitava Roy asked solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, appearing for CBSE.
The court is hearing a batch of petitions filed by candidates who wrote the exam, seeking its cancellation. Reserving its verdict on the pleas, the apex court said it will be declared on June 15. The vacation bench also extended its interim order, staying declaration of the result.
Kumar argued cancellation of the exam would affect 6.3 lakh students who took it. He referred to the Haryana Police’s probe report and said 44 students who cheated had been identified.
“We (CBSE) are dependent on state police machinery for security. The gadgets used in this (cheating) were hi-tech. The board cannot keep a check on all this,” Kumar told the bench. He suggested cancellation of a student’s admission after the police finds his or her involvement.
But this was not accepted by the bench, which said the sanctity of the examination was under suspicion now.
The apex court had on June 8 extended the stay on the declaration of results of AIPMT till June 12 while hearing pleas seeking re-conduct of the test in the May 3 examination.
A vacation bench of justices RK Agrawal and Amitava Roy had granted the time after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) sought listing of the matter for Friday.
The CBSE was scheduled to declare the AIPMT results on June 5, but the declaration was postponed after the apex court on June 3 directed the board to not declare the results till June 10 in the light of allegations of irregularities.
The SC also gave Haryana police a week to find the real beneficiaries of the illegal practices followed in the exam. The court wants these students to be identified so they can be eliminated when the results are declared.
Over 6 lakh students had appeared for the AIPMT exam this year.
Large-scale irregularities, including leakage of answer keys, had come to the light earlier, with the investigators informing the court that the answer keys of 123 questions were transmitted through 75 mobile phones in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Haryana.
A number of medical colleges which accept the AIPMT score, students who have appeared for the examination this year and coaching institutes, have expressed concern over the delay in the publication of the results
An administrative officer at the Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital said, “15% of our seats come from All India examination and the remaining 85% from the IP University. The university is ready with its results and their counselling should start anytime now, but the problem is we can’t start the session till we get the remaining 15% candidates.”
The official did not wish to give his name as he isn’t authorised to speak to the media.
“Normally 15 days of delay won’t make much of a difference but the problem will be if it’s stretched beyond that. There is a particular number of study hours assigned per subject that we have to take and in cases of delays we have to compensate by scheduling lots of extra classes. Last year also the session got delayed till September so we had to fix extra classes in the evening,” the official added.
“We have no option but to wait as we get candidates on the basis of merit from the faculty of medical sciences. It’s an unfortunate situation that we are dealing with and we do understand if classes get delayed, it’s a huge loss and additional burden for the undergraduate students. We will think of making up for the lost time after the results are announced. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” said a senior doctor at the Lady Hardinge Medical College.
“In situations like these, the worst sufferers are the students who get less time to cover the syllabus. Moreover, students come from various backgrounds some of them anyway take more time to adjust. This does hamper their studies and performance in the long-run,” said Satendra Singh, assistant professor, department of physiology at Delhi University’s College of Medical Sciences.
“For us students come from Delhi University and so far it is not a grave situation. If need be, we will plan accordingly as the stipulated curriculum has to be covered. Normally we cut down on autumn break and Christmas holidays to compensate for the lost time,” said Dr Mahesh Verma, director and principal of Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences on Thursday.
Naveen Maheshwari, director of Allen Career Coaching Institute of Kota, told that the delay of AIPMT results is getting longer which is creating uncertainty among AIPMT aspirants.
“Those students, who have been selected in the state PMTs of different states, are in confusion as to whether they should participate in counseling process of such state PMT or should wait for AIPMT," he said.
He added if such AIPMT aspirants, who are selected in state PMTs, participate in the counseling of such state PMTs then they would deprive those aspirants who are just behind them and would now be deprived of seeking admissions through such state PMTs.
Dr Girish Verma, principal of Government Medical College Kota, said if the issue of AIPMT is not resolved within 5-10 days, the academic session in Government Medical College and other colleges of Rajasthan would get delayed since admissions to medical colleges in Rajasthan will be done through AIPMT results. He said that the delay in academic sessions would mean delay in examinations and entire academic session would suffer.
He added admissions on 150 seats is done through AIPMT at Government Medical College, Kota.
AIPMT aspirant Manish Kumar Sharma of Career Point Institute said that aspirants are in a dilema as the results of several state PMTs including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand are out and students are in confusion as to whether to opt for counseling of such colleges or wait for AIPMT results. He said the uncertainty over AIPMT results created stress on students who appeared for AIIMS Examination.
Another aspirant, Ayush Singhal, said he has got 50th Rank in the Indraprastha University (IPU) Medical Test but he is getting paid seat in the Vardhman Mahaveer Medical College (VMMC) of Delhi since none of the selected aspirants wants to leave his seat. But if the AIPMT results would have been announced then many of such selected students of IPU would have opted for other colleges to facilitate free general seats in the VMMC Colleges for students of general category like him.