The Madras High Court on Wednesday impleaded the CBI as respondent in a case related to NEET impersonation, saying the role of coaching centres cannot be ruled out as students got admission by defrauding in the medical entrance examination held outside the state.
A division bench, comprising justices N Kirubakaran and P Velmurugan, impleaded the agency on its own while hearing a petition by S Dheera related to medical admissions.
The bench noted that since the students impersonated and got admission by writing the examination outside the state, the fraud should be an all-India phenomenon and many students in various states should have got admission by impersonation.
"Since the jurisdiction of CB-CID is only confined to the state government, it would be appropriate for a central agency to investigate into the matter as the medical colleges are located in various parts of our country and the fraud is pan India," the bench said and impleaded CBI as respondent.
Additional Advocate General P H Arvind Pandiyan submitted that the CB-CID which is probing the case, has till date arrested six persons, including four students.
He added that Tamil Nadu has 4,250 medical seats out of the 38,000 seats available all over India.
However, getting admission by impersonation has surfaced only in Tamil Nadu, he said.
The bench, while raising doubts about candidates who appeared for the exam, noted that the AAG had submitted that the CB-CID has received about 19 suspected candidates' thumb impressions from the National Testing Agency.
It has to be verified whether the students who got admission were the same persons who wrote NEET, it said.
The court then directed NTA to send all details,including thumb impressions, which were taken manually, to CB-CID and file a compliance report by the next hearing, to find out if any other candidates have got admission by impersonation.
The bench restrained the media from publishing photographs or revealing identities of students who are said to have impersonated and got admission.
"It is only an allegation against the students and if their identities are revealed to society, they will be shamed, affecting their future," it said.
As they are young children, their rights have to be protected and mostly the students' role is very restricted, except to act as per the directions of their parents.
The bench was of the opinion that there should be a foolproof method by which the admission process can be done and only meritorious students could get admission into medical colleges.
The entire process, right from conduct of exams,counselling and getting admission into medical colleges should be a 'combined process,' making use of thumb impression and facial recognition technology to confirm their identities, it said.
For the purpose, the bench by itself impleaded the Director-General of Health Services, New Delhi, as party respondent to this proceedings and then posted the matter to October 24.
Dheeranhad filed a petition against the order of a single judge, dismissing his plea for a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to undertake proper counselling and 'mop up' procedure to fill up 207 management quota seats.