The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday upheld the decision of Baba Farid University of Health Science (BFUHS) to prepare merit list for Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET-2016) on the basis of percentile system. The counselling has been ordered to be held on September 16 and 17.
However, the HC also ordered recasting of the merit list within three days as it found that two more questions were wrong in the paper, even as four questions that were earlier declared invalid were actually correct. This means the number of questions declared invalid will now be 12.
Moving forward, via the PMET route, this counselling will fill around 700 of the state MBBS seats in seven medical colleges and approximately 600 BDS seats in 14 dental colleges, both in the government and private sectors. As many as 14,689 students had appeared for the test on June 10.
The high court bench of justice GS Sandhawalia declared the judgment on petitions by Fatehgarh Sahib student Ravneet Kaur and others on, who had sought a retest. They had alleged that the percentile-based result was in contravention of the provisions of the prospectus. It was also alleged that 110 questions were wrong.
But the court held that the university was justified in the “ever-changing situations” to adopt the system of percentile, as admissions were to be made to MBBS and BDS courses on the strength of both the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the PMET.
“By resorting to the percentile method, merit has not been disturbed, as such, as a common principle has been applied to all the students from both the tests and they have been put on a common pedestal,” the HC said.
As for the list of invalid questions, the court observed that some of the questions were unnecessarily declared invalid, even though the same had correct answer keys. It cancelled the university decision of invalidation of three zoology questions and one in botany. Two questions that were originally not declared invalid were found to be wrong by the court in chemistry.
Further, though, the court observed that students were kept in the dark as to how their peers had done comparatively, by holding back the complete merit list, which should be open to one and all. The court told the university to display the merit list of all candidates who gave the examinations within three days.
The court also did not accept a contention by some petitioners that reserved-category candidates scoring below 50 percentile also be allowed to participate in the counselling.
University counsel, senior advocate Anupam Gupta called the judgment comprehensive and balanced: “I will advise the university to implement it.”
What’s percentile and why it’s used?
Percentile scores are based on relative performance of all those who appear for an exam. The topper’s score is considered 100 percentile, and the bottom-placed candidate’s score is considered zero; for others, marks obtained in between the highest and lowest scores are converted to appropriate percentiles.
For PMET, the university opted for it because the exam was conducted in two shifts. Marks of the candidates in different shifts with different question papers and difficulty levels had to be normalised. Hence, marks of toppers of each shift were considered equal, as 100 percentile! The score was calculated to seven decimal places to avoid bunching.
Another reason was that admissions were to be made on basis of both the NEET-2016 and PMET-2016. The NEET result is already on basis of percentile. The Supreme Court had also specifically directed that admission under management quota seats be done on percentile score. So, the university went for percentile for all admissions.