Four months after Punjab PMET, High Court rejects plea for r

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
Nearly four months after 15,000 students appeared in Punjab pre-medical entrance test (PMET) for nearly 1,000 MBBS seats, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled out re-examination.
Directing Baba Farid University of Health Sciences to revise the PMET-2015 result following cancellation of three questions and court observations, Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain also told the varsity to start the admission process forthwith.
The court also directed the varsity to, in future, allow candidates appearing in PMET examination to carry question booklet after the test. Justice Jain also made it clear that the answer keys would be published on the varsity website and “the candidates shall be allowed to have an access to their OMR sheets as per the CBSE pattern, which is being practiced in the AIPMT.”
The ruling came on a bunch of petitions by Ritika and other candidates for setting aside the test conducted on May 17. Directions were also sought to upload answer keys and OMR sheet on the varsity website.
The petitioners had contended that the test was held in an unfair and arbitrary manner. Among other things, they had argued the examination was conducted at a single centre — Jalandhar-based Lovely Professional University. Around 15,500 students appeared; and the examination was delayed by 45 minutes due to traffic jam.
Besides, the question paper contained glaring mistakes. Several questions were without correct options, some were repeated, while other questions made no sense.
After more than 35 hearing spread over three months, Justice Jain observed none of the petitioners was deprived of chance to appear in the examination due to traffic congestion. “It was, in fact, a Herculean task, executed by the university with precision. The Vice-Chancellor himself played a pivotal role to ensure that this examination, held after the AIPMT-2015 on May 3, may not be involved in controversy of mass cheating and use of unfair means," Justice Jain asserted in his 169-page judgment.
The varsity strongly challenged and refuted the allegations made by petitioners, and brought documentary evidence on arrangements for conducting the examination.
“The examination cannot be ordered to be re-conducted, on the mere ipsi dixit (unsupported assertion) of the petitioners. Otherwise, the court would tread on a dangerous path in case the examination of such a magnitude and importance is ordered to be cancelled only on the basis of mere allegations”.
Justice Jain said he did not find it reasonable to seek another expert opinion, as suggested by petitioners’ counsel, when there were the exhaustive report(s) furnished by experts of the university whose credentials had been established on record.
During the course of hearing, the varsity counsel admitted that question Nos. 19 and 26 were repeated and recommended for deletion. Question No. 47 had already been cancelled due to printing error. Justice Jain observed the petitioners' contention in response to question number 71 was that argon was discovered both by Rayleigh and Ramsay. “This court observes that the students, who also answered Ramsay as the correct answer to question 71, would be awarded equal marks for that question….
“The university is directed to revise the PMET-2015 result in view of cancellation of questions 19, 26, 47 and the observations made by this court in regard to question 71 of question booklet set-A and start admission process forthwith”. Justice Jain agreed with the petitioners’ contention that prohibition on leaving examination hall without handing over question booklet was arbitrary.
Soon after the verdict, Vice-Chancellor Dr Raj Bahadur said the varsity valued the indulgence of the high court, which patiently heard each aspect of allegations by the petitioners, supported by the coaching centres, in minute details.