Unable to fathom why the National Testing Agency (NTA) failed to put in place an effective system to prevent illegalities such as impersonation in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), the Madras High Court on Friday suspected that the illegality of clearing the test through proxies would have happened across the country and not just in Tamil Nadu. In the State so far, five students and their parents are under scrutiny.A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and P. Velmurugan suo motu impleaded the NTA, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as respondents to a writ appeal and sought to know whether such impersonation in NEET had happened in any other State.When Abdul Saleem, standing counsel for the Selection Committee in the Directorate of Medical Education, pointed out that so far, two MBBS students in the State had been found to have gained admission in government medical colleges apart from three more, who had joined private colleges, the judges said there appeared to be more than what meets the eye.“These things could not have happened without the active connivance of the government as well as college officials. How could you not have a system in place for verifying the credentials of those who had applied for the test and those who come to write it? ,” the senior judge in the Bench said.He recalled that it was to avoid such malpractices he had been persuading the authorities to insist upon submission of Aadhaar card details. “If you had verified the details through Aadhaar, such impersonation would not have happened and so many medical seats would not have gone waste and given away in a platter to undeserving candidates,” the judge said.He added that at least in the future a reliable monitoring mechanism should be put in place. Replying to it, Mr. Saleem said, the NTA was contemplating the possibility of obtaining finger prints of the candidates to avoid such impersonations in the future.The Division Bench directed the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) probing the NEET impersonation cases in the State to submit by October 15 a detailed report on the probe conducted so far.The judges wanted to know the number of students and parents involved in the issue, the amount of money that had been transacted for such impersonation, the details of the agents as well as government and college officials involved in the offence.The interim order was passed after impleading the CB-CID too as one of the respondents to a writ appeal relating to alleged irregularities in filling up non-resident Indian (NRI) quota seats in private medical colleges.
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