“Occasionally, I feel like committing suicide. My family has suffered socially, mentally and physically over the last few years. This was our last hope. I am even ready to appear for another entrance examination if that is going to be of some help,’’ said a dejected student of Government Medical College, Gwalior.
The 25-year-old is among the 634 students whose admissions were cancelled by the Supreme Court on Monday. The top court upheld the verdict of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and before that the state government that held them guilty of using unfair means to clear pre-medical tests held between 2008 and 2012.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because “I may have to face the CBI now’’, the student of 2012 batch said his father had been suspended for helping him dealing a double blow to the middle class family “that has no political backing and clout’’.
Some of the students, who were in their final years or about to get degrees, are in late 20s. The three-bench order that refused to “legitimise’’ admissions through unfair means has reduced their qualification to Class XII. “Worse, the fear of prosecution is still hanging in the air,’’ said another student.
“The Supreme Court was our last hope. We thought we would get some relief, may be penalty would have been slapped and allowed to practice in rural areas without getting paid for some time. I do not know what future has in store for me,’’ said a dejected student of Government Medical College, Bhopal.
A year after the main scam broke in July 2013 when impersonators were caught in Indore, the state professional examination board, then known by its Hindi acronym Vyapam and now renamed Professional Examination Board, had cancelled 634 admissions.
The students had then argued that they were innocent and that the board had used an illogical method to conclude that they had cheated. A group of affected students had taken to the streets against the decision saying that they were being made to pay for irregularities committed by others.
As many as 170 students had challenged the decision. But they lost in the high court and later moved the apex court. In June 2016, a two-judge bench gave a differing verdict. One judge held that the admissions be cancelled and another said that they the students be allowed to complete their degrees and made to serve for a few years without remuneration.
The matter was referred to Chief Justice J S Khehar-led three-member bench that gave a unanimous ruling.
“She is so upset; she can barely talk. She got married in 2016 but the social stigma of getting expelled for cheating has stuck. She cannot even appear for other competitive examinations and will have to pursue graduation in either arts or commerce. There is no career for her. Everything is over,’’ said Vishal, brother of a final year student.
It was argued that “their means to acquire education may have been tainted but not the knowledge they acquired’’.
But the court did not find any merit in the argument.
“Not all the students whose admissions were cancelled moved courts. Those who knew they had used unfair means opted out but those who were genuine challenged the decision because they were not in the wrong,’’ said a student.