The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a clarification from a two-judge bench, which had found 634 medical students guilty of adopting unfair means in their entrance tests but had differed on quantum of sentence, as to whether it can hear the entire matter afresh.
A three-judge bench comprising justices JS Khehar, Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra is hearing the matter which has been referred to it as the two-judges bench failed to arrive at a consensus regarding award of punishment to be meted out to the 634 students.
The students were found guilty of adopting unfair means in getting admissions in Madhya Pradesh medical colleges through VYAPAM.
While Justice J Chelameswar wanted the students to serve as doctors for five years in Army before being granted licence to practice as doctors, Justice A M Sapre ordered them to take up the entrance test afresh. However, both the judges had concurred that the students were guilty.
The three-judge bench on Thursday agreed to the contention of senior advocate Shyam Diwan, representing the students, that the judgement has not arrived at any conclusion.
The bench then decided to seek opinion of the previous bench as to whether it can hear the entire matter afresh.
The apex court had on May 16, in its verdict had failed to arrive at a consensus leaving the fate of the 634 students to hang in balance.
Medicos had challenged two verdicts, delivered in 2014, of the Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissing their pleas against cancellation of their results in the entrance examinations, being held from 2008 to 2013, by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), also known as VYAPAM.
In its inquiry, the examination board had concluded that the exam process was “tampered with” and these 634 medicos were the beneficiaries of “manipulated examination process”.
Referring the divergent verdict to Chief Justice TS Thakur for “further orders”, Justice J Chelameswar had said that he favoured permitting students to complete studies and “compensate” society by serving in Army without any claim.
Justice Sapre had said it is collective responsibility of the government (central/states), educational institutions to ponder over and evolve a uniform policy in a comprehensive manner to firmly deal with such activities in the larger public good.