Genuineness of all students admitted to MBBS course to be checked, order by Madras HC

Madras HC pass orders to check genuineness of all MBBS students – The High Court of Madras has started a major exercise to cleanse issues related to admissions in medical colleges across the country. These issues include candidates from private coaching centres being favoured over the poor students during the admission process, impersonation cases in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exam, candidates appearing in NEET for the first time being evicted out of competition in favour of those who have been giving it repeatedly. 

Last Wednesday, Justice P Velmurugan and N Kirubakaran directed the NTA to share the thumb impressions of all 4250 candidates who took admission in numerous private and government medical colleges in Tamilnadu this year along with the officials of Crime Branch – Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID). With this data, the officials would verify if all the appeared candidates were genuine or not. The National Testing Agency (NTA) is the agency in charge of conducting the NEET exam. 

Until now, the CB-CID has collected concrete evidence against six admitted candidates to prove that they got admission in the MBBS course via impersonation in the NEET exam. It also suspects that 13 more students were admitted in the same manner. Due to this, the judges felt that the genuineness of all students admitted in MBBS courses this year should be checked. 

P H Arvind Pandian, the additional advocate general stated that the impersonators of almost all six students had appeared for this exam in different states and there are chances that the private coaching institutes might have played a crucial role in this illegal process. After this the judges suo motu also included the CBI as a respondent in this case before the HC. In this way, the central agency will be able to probe this case on a pan-India level in a better manner. 

While lamenting, the judges stated that the media reports suggests that it has been found that the Income Tax seized huge amount of money from the coaching centres during its raids. In neighbouring states such as Karnataka, a few students might have conducted a fraud in same manner to get medical seats. As 14 lakh students compete for 38,000 medical seats, such frauds keep taking place. Due to this, the deserving medical candidates are unable to get  admission. 

The judges suggested that the NEET officials should implement foolproof system technologies such as facial recognition technologies and different fingerprint checking mechanisms to prevent the impersonation process in the NEET. All stakeholders of this exam including the Medical Council of India (MCI), Central and State Govt should come together to form a committee that do not allow such fraudulent practises. The judges also ordered that the media should not reveal the identities of young students involved in such cases.

The judges also said that it was the State govt’s duty to arrange counselling for the students who were arrested in this case and granted bail later on so that they do not remain traumatised due to these events. 

The senior judges authored an interim order and directed the State as well as Central govt to provide a list of those students who had cleared NEET after multiple attempts and after first attempt. They wanted to know how many students had cleared this exam with the help of private coaching centres and how many had cleared through self study. 

The judges had passed this order after they were hearing a writ appeal where a complaint was filed citing irregularities conducted on a large scale in the filing of the NRI quota seats in  the private medical institutes.