“The Board has decided to seek formal clarification from the MCI in this regard,” reads a notice issued by the BOPEE.
Two days after Greater Kashmir carried a story about inclusion of four candidates who hadn’t passed the postgraduate National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET PG) 2018 in the state merit, the J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) has decided to approach the Medical Council of India (MCI) for direction on the controversial selection of the candidates.
On 13 March 2018, the BOPEE had issued notification declaring the merit list of candidates who had been awarded “difficult area marks” (DAM) which are incentive marks awarded to a candidate for serving in difficult areas.
As per National Board of Examinations (NBE), which conducts the NEET, the minimum qualifying/cut off score for general category (unreserved) candidate in this year’s NEET PG were 321 marks and it was 281 marks for reserved category. The four candidates who hadn’t qualified the NEET had been given the DAM which led to their selection in the merit list.
The MCI joint secretary (PG) Dr Rajendra Wabale had told Greater Kashmir that the incentives can’t be given to a candidate for qualifying NEET.
Amid the controversy the BOPEE issued the notification on Monday titled “eligibility of candidates under NEET PG with less than qualifying score and award of difficult area marks”. While trying to justify the selection of the four candidates, the board in the notice has referred to an “MCI regulation” about awarding of DAM to in-service candidates who hadn’t qualified the NEET.
It also cited a 2016 writ petition wherein “High Court had extended the benefit of 30 percent weightage to a candidate who had not passed state common entrance test (CET) but passed after adding difficult area marks”. The DAM of 10, 20 or 30 percent is awarded to a doctor for serving in a difficult area for one, two or three years respectively.
The inclusion of the four students in the merit list is also in contradiction to the Board’s own information brochure which clearly states that that “only such candidates shall be eligible for award of difficult area marks, who have secured the qualifying marks as fixed by the NBE”.
Soon after Greater Kashmir carried the story on March 17, the BOPEE issued a corrigendum stating that the para in the brochure that “only such candidates shall be eligible for award of difficult area marks who have secured the qualifying marks as fixed by the NBE” shall always be deemed to have been deleted.
Now, expecting that that the MCI might raise questions over the merit list which includes the four candidates the fresh notice issued by the BOPEE states that any candidate found ineligible at any stage of admission, “shall be thrown out of admission process”.
A senior official at the BOPEE said they would wait for the direction from the MCI to decide on the future course of action.