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Punjab PMET: SC orders fresh merit list
To include 8 answers suggested by DU, CBSE
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 24
Imposing a cost of Rs 1 lakh on Guru Nanak Dev (GND) University for its “apathetic and casual” approach in preparing the Punjab Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET) paper with a number of wrong questions and incorrect “key answers”, the Supreme Court today directed the varsity to prepare fresh merit list by including correct answers of eight questions suggested unanimously by the Delhi University (DU) and CBSE in their reports submitted to it.

Brining down the curtain over the entire controversy, a Bench of Mr Justice Y K Sabharwal, Mr Justice B N Srikrishna and Mr Justice P P Naolekar said after assessing the reports of the DU and the CBSE to whom 10 questions were referred for assessment, key answers of eight of them were found to be wrong while the questions set out by the GND varsity were correct. The two institutions, however, differed in their opinion about the remaining two questions, and therefore, they would not being considered for fresh evaluation, the court said.

In view of this the court directed the GND varsity to evaluate the marks of the eight questions as per the correct key answers suggested by the DU and the CBSE by feeding them in computer against each concerned question. It also recommended action against persons responsible for the whole mess.

In respect of the seven other questions, which the GND varsity had itself admitted to be incorrect initially and gave 28 marks in lieu of those to every student across the board irrespective of the fact whether a student had attempted those questions or not, the court said the university’s approach was not right as it had given advantage to those students as well who did not attempt those seven questions at all against those who had either attempted all or some of them.

The court said that marks for those seven questions would be given only to the students who had attempted either all of them or some of them in that proportion and allowed two days’ time to the university to declare the result to draw afresh the merit as per the rank obtained by students after completion of this exercise.

Elaborating, the court said if a student had attempted all of the seven of those questions, only then he would get 28 marks. If a student had attempted five, then he would get 20 marks, likewise every student would get marks for each question in the proportion he had attempted them as each question carried four marks.

The court said it was the only possible remedy at this late stage of the admission process to the MBBS, BDS and other courses, which were being unduly delayed due to the “apathy” of the GND varsity in preparing the questions and answers in a “casual manner”.

While asking the university to deposit the Rs 1 lakh amount with the Punjab State Legal Aid Authority, to be used exclusively for legal aid of the students by it, the court also permitted students to seek rechecking of the answer sheets on payment within 72 hours of the declaration of the fresh result as had been prescribed in the varsity’s advertisement. The students, who had earlier deposited the requisite fee for rechecking of the answer sheets, need not to pay any further fee, it clarified.

The court also upheld the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s direction for fixing the responsibility on persons concerned by the GND varsity for preparing the paper for such a vital examination with incorrect questions and key answers, saying “We see it as a casual approach”.

The court said in the face of such large scale incorrect questions and answers being put, it would have warranted “scraping of the entire examination” but it could not be done at this late stage as interests of hundreds of students, who had worked hard throughout the year, was involved.

Lambasting the university, it said, “There was total apathy and lapse on its part, which resulted in the litigation, which otherwise was avoidable.”

The eight questions, regarding which the DU and the CBSE had given unanimous report, were numbered as 36, 49, 109, 110, 128, 165, 167 and 168. These would now be included in the fresh evaluation list as per the chart placed before the court.

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