More than 300 students who entered medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh after clearing scam-tainted entrance tests cannot practise anymore after the Supreme Court cancelled their admissions on Monday in connection with the multi-crore Vyapam scandal.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said the case presented before it by the students warranted no interference into an earlier order by the top court under Article 142. The earlier two-judge bench had split on the future of the students with one judge recommending leniency.
But on Monday, the SC declined to show any sympathy and let the students take up medical profession despite holding their admissions illegal. The students had urged the court that they had studied hard for five years and cleared all the internal college exams.
The bench’s order came on a reference made to it by a two-judge bench, which in May 2016 struck down the admissions.
The verdict had come after revelations that the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), better known by its Hindi acronym Vyapam, let candidates morph photographs and send impersonators to write tests.
Considered one of India’s biggest corruption scandals, the Vyapam scam shot to nationwide notoriety in 2015 after a string of mysterious deaths of witnesses and suspects. Top state BJP leaders and ministers are accused in the multi-crore scam being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In the May 2016 decision, justice J Chelameswar held it would not be prudent to let the students waste the knowledge they had acquired so far. Saying the students were not criminals as they were juveniles when the incident happened, he asked them to serve with the army or in rural areas for five years without getting paid.
Justice AM Sapre, the other judge, disagreed. He ordered they should be completely barred.
Due to this split decision,the matter was referred to a three-judge bench that has now supported justice Sapre’s view.