The Delhi High Court has directed the AIIMS to pay Rs 50,000 as costs to an MBBS aspirant, who was not allowed to write the entrance exam after his Aadhaar card could not be scanned at the centre, and also issued a slew of direction to avoid a repeat of the incident.
The court observed that the controller of examination of AIIMS adopted a callous attitude in unnecessarily depriving the student from appearing in the exam. Turning back a student from an entrance examination centre would result in a fait accompli, as has happened in this case, which has to be avoided under all circumstances, it said.
The court, however, refused to order a re-exam, saying it would cause a lot of disturbance to other students who have already appeared in the test and it would be unfair to impose the burden of another exam on the other candidates.
"In view of the non-responsive attitude of AIIMS, both to the candidate's representation and before this court, the petitioner deserves to be compensated with costs for the treatment that has been meted out to him. In view of the harassment and frustration caused to the petitioner, AIIMS is directed to pay costs of Rs 50,000 to the petitioner," Justice Prathiba M Singh said.
When the matter was initially listed for hearing, the court had issued notice to AIIMS and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), asking them to file their response within a week.
While UIDAI filed a response confirming that the student's Aadhaar card was genuine, AIIMS failed to file a counter affidavit.
The court also issued a slew of direction to avoid students and candidates, appearing for the AIIMS examinations, being confronted with such incidents.
It directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to include in its brochure the manner in which examination centres respond to various situations such as identification of documents, medical conditions, discrepancies in admit cards and question papers and manner of marking answers.
"In future, the controller of examinations of AIIMS shall ensure that a response team is constituted to deal with issues raised on the day of the examination and such a team should also be able to respond immediately in such emergent situations.
"Since the examination is conducted in centres across the country, the heads of examination centres ought to be given uniform set of instructions to ensure that students are not made to suffer in this manner," the court said.
It added that if the examinations are conducted online, there ought to be an emergent technical response team to deal with any technical glitches that may arise.
The plea was filed in the high court during vacations by a student from Karnataka, who was not allowed to take the AIIMS entrance examination on May 26 as the Quick Response (QR) code of his Aadhaar card could not be scanned by staff carrying out verification through a mobile phone application at an examination centre in Kalaburagi.
The student was barred from taking the exam and was told that his Aadhaar card was not genuine. It was later established that the document was indeed genuine.
It was also established that this method of verification through mobile application had not been uniformly applied, and that several centres had, in fact, granted admission to candidates after a physical verification of documents.
The student had written a letter to the authorities but when he did not receive any response, he approached the high court seeking a stay on the publication of the results of the examination, scheduled to be declared on June 18, and for conducting the exam afresh.