The Supreme Court on Monday scrapped the 2015-16 All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), stating that the examination conducted on May 3 had become “suspect” after it was “vitiated to the core by the use of deceitful means and measures to benefit” some candidates.
Directing the CBSE to conduct a re-test within four weeks, a bench of Justices R K Agrawal and Amitava Roy held that “if such an examination is saved, merit would be a casualty generating a sense of frustration in genuine students, with aversion to the concept of examination”.
More than 6.3 lakh students had appeared for the exam held to fill the approximately 3,200 MBBS/BDS seats available.
Allowing a batch of petitions on the issue, including by students and parents, the court said that the investigation by Haryana Police had unravelled “startling and alarming” facts about the widespread network that operated across various states.
The police, in their latest status report on June 11, said that they had identified 44 candidates who used illicit means to cheat in the AIPMT, and that a further probe was underway.
The report disclosed that irregularities had occurred across states, including Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa.
The bench dismissed the CBSE’s argument that those who cheated in the exam could be segregated at a later stage after the probe identified them, and that a re-test need not be ordered.
It underlined that the entire process had been tainted and the sanctity of the AIPMT was breached. Further, the court said, allowing the process to continue would lead to litigation, affecting the careers of genuine students – “a lurking possibility of unidentified beneficiary candidates stealing a march over them” would persist.
The court said it acknowledged the difficulties of the CBSE and all other agencies involved in conducting the exam afresh but added that there was no alternative since the AIPMT suffered from an “infraction… of authenticity and credence”.
Permitting the CBSE’s argument to let the admission process be completed, the bench said, may amount to “travesty of a proclaimed mechanism to impartially judge the comparative merit” of the candidates.
“Even if one undeserving candidate, a beneficiary of such illegal machination, though undetected, is retained in the process it would be in denial of the claim of more deserving candidates. At the present, the examination stands denuded of its sanctity as it is not possible to be cleansed of all the participating beneficiary candidates with certainty,” it held.
The bench asked all agencies to ensure that there was no further delay in the admission process for MBBS/BDS which, according to the schedule mandated by the SC, has to be completed by September 30 every year.