Students’ plea in Vyapam case: SC judges disagree, matter to be placed before CJI

CBI is investigating the Vyapam scam on the order of Supreme Court, which had last year directed state police to hand over all cases to the agency.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: May 14, 2016 1:40:03 am
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The fate of 634 medical students, who have been accused of using illegal means to get admissions through Vyapam (MP Professional Examination Board), hangs in balance with two judges of Supreme Court disagreeing with each other on cancellation of their admissions.

In a judgment on Thursday, Justice J Chelameswar said it may not be appropriate to render the students “useless” by cancelling their admissions. Instead, he said, “larger public interest” would require them to serve the nation for five years, preferably in the Army, after they become qualified doctors.

But Justice Abhay M Sapre, the other judge on the bench, noted that letting the 634 candidates complete their education would mean awarding premium to those involved in unlawful means. He said “larger public good” deprived them of any leeway since that would affect creditability in conducting the examination and cause more harm to meritorious candidates.

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With the judges not agreeing with each other, the matter will be placed before Chief Justice of India for setting up a larger bench to decide on matter.

CBI is investigating the Vyapam scam on the order of Supreme Court, which had last year directed state police to hand over all cases to the agency. Calling the scam “shocking”, the court had ordered the CBI probe into the scandal and directed probe into the criminal cases and deaths of more than two dozen people, allegedly linked with the scam. The top court had then said it will not let the number of deaths go up further.

Medical students, whose admissions were cancelled over illegalities in exams between 2007-2012, approached the Supreme Court. The batch of petitions cited considerable lapse of time in holding them culpable for alleged illegalities and added that most of them were juveniles at the time of entrance exams. But MP government opposed their plea, saying they did not deserve a sympathetic view.

Writing his judgment, Justice Chelameswar underlined that these candidates had either completed their studies or were on the verge of completion and hence, the real question would be whether the society could afford to waste such technically trained human resources.

“Society must receive some compensation from the wrongdoers. Compensation need not be monetary and in the instant case it should not be. In my view, it would serve the larger public interest, by making the appellants serve the nation for a period of five years as and when they become qualified doctors, without any regular salary and attendant benefits of service under the State..,” he said.

However, Justice Sapre held that once the cancellation of the exam results has been upheld as being just, legal and proper, then its natural consequence must ensue. He said the only concession the candidates deserved could be to allow them to compete with other candidates as and when the exam is held in future.\

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