The Madras High Court on Monday advised the Centre, which framed the rules of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for students who wished to study medical courses, to take note of it after the infamous impersonation scam made it to the news.

The court has said instead of giving the expected good results, the test has only benefited students who spend lakhs of rupees on coaching classes and put students from rural or poor financial background at a disadvantage.

The division bench, comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and P Velmurugan, stated this when hearing a PIL after Additional Advocate General P H Aravind Pandian, complying with the court’s October 25 directive, submitted a list of candidates who got admission after attending coaching classes and those without doing so.

The court noted that only 48 students got medical seats without attending coaching classes, whereas 3,033 secured admission to government colleges after going to coaching classes.

Similarly, only 52 students got admission in self-financing colleges without attending coaching classes, while 1,598 got medical seats after attending coaching classes. The bench said it was shocking that only a negligible number of candidates got admission without coaching.

“That means medical education is not available to the poor people and it is available only to those who underwent coaching classes by spending lakhs of rupees. Moreover, this will also put rural students in a disadvantageous position, as they lack facilities of undergoing coaching,” the court said.

S Dheeran, an aspiring medical student, had filed the PIL for a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to undertake proper counselling and ‘mop-up procedure’ to fill 207 management quota MBBS seats in various colleges.

The court had widened the scope of Dheeran’s petition, taking note of the NEET impersonation scam which surfaced last month when a suspicion was raised over a first-year MBBS student of Theni Medical College. Investigations revealed he had secured the admission using the marks scored by a proxy candidate.

“It is shocking that only those who attended coaching classes…paid as much as Rs 5 lakh…obtain medical seats,” it added. “But huge amounts of money are being paid to coaching centres to get admission.”

The court had directed all medical colleges in Tamil Nadu, government, private and deemed universities, to send a list of admitted students to the National Testing Agency, which conducted NEET, by e-mail on or before October 30.

On receipt of the communications, the NTA shall forward the original thumb impression of all admitted candidates in the state to CB-CID police, probing the impersonation scam, the court had said. During the hearing on Monday, NTA counsel submitted that fingerprints of 6,976 students of government and private medical colleges and 1,250 of seven deemed Universities have been handed over to the CB-CID.

Counsel for CBI gave an undertaking that he would verify whether the agency had received any complaint with regard to impersonation or malpractices in the NEET exam to secure admission in medical colleges in other states. The bench then posted the matter to November 7.