Tamil Nadu

CB-CID to probe PG medical admissions

The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered a Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) inquiry to ascertain if there was a conspiracy between officials of the Directorate of Medical Education (DME) and private medical colleges, in filling up 74 management quota postgraduate seats without conducting mop-up counselling this year.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh wanted the Director General of Police to ensure that the scope of the inquiry is extended to find the amount of money collected by private colleges from students admitted on August 31 — the last date for PG admissions. The investigators were further given liberty to probe other issues that unfold.

The judge directed the investigating team to submit its report before the court on or before January 31 and directed the Registry to list the case for reporting compliance on February 1. He expressed anguish over medical seats being allotted to unmeritorious candidates every year on one pretext or the other, and said that COVID-19 had come in handy this year.

Hearing cases filed by meritorious candidates who had either lost the chance of getting admitted in postgraduate courses or could not shift to a better branch of medicine due to the non-conduct of mop-up counselling, the judge wondered how the DME could permit private colleges to fill management quota seats on their own on August 31.

The judge said the DME ought to have approached the Supreme Court seeking more time, without presuming that the latter would not grant any extension. A failure to do so had resulted in 36 of the 74 PG seats getting filled with candidates who had secured somewhere between 200 to 300 marks in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

Further, 23 more seats had been filled with candidates who had secured just 300 to 400 marks. “Candidates who had really worked hard and secured higher marks than these candidates will get an impression that there is something beyond merit that can secure admission for a candidate, and that is their purchasing power,” the judge lamented.

Justice Venkatesh went on to state: “There is something more than what meets the eye when it comes to filling up seats in private medical colleges, other than by way of counselling. These are all obviously candidates who are capable of pulling strings and already had a clear understanding with the college concerned college.

“When push came to shove, prior understanding translated itself into final action and the candidates got admitted into the course. Every year, some mechanism is devised by self-financing colleges to fill up vacancies in this manner… At the end of the day, money, contacts and power should not be the determining factor for getting a seat,” he said.

Observing that it was important to identify the malice afflicting the system by taking the bull by its horns, Justice Venkatesh said stringent steps must be taken to ensure probity and send a strong message that such illegal actions would not be tolerated. He was of the view that only an independent investigation would expose the culprits behind the conspiracy.

“A society which perpetrates or encourages or celebrates mediocrity is bound to sink and perish at some point of time. This is more so when it comes to dealing with education, and, particularly, medical education. A State can never take the chance of filling up a medical seat vacancy with an unmeritorious candidate since it directly involves the life of a person,” the judge said.

On the DME’s claim that COVID-19 was the reason for the non-conduct of mop-up counselling for management quota seats, the judge said, “There is an attempt to put every blame on COVID-19, even when it does not have a direct nexus to the action performed by an institution or any instrumentality of the State. There cannot be a greater sin than to make use of the present situation and gain advantage for one’s self-aggrandisement.”

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 10:39:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cb-cid-to-probe-pg-medical-admissions/article32967589.ece

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