February 15th, 2017
The Supreme Court (SC) has cancelled the degrees of 634 doctors. It has also cancelled the admissions of over 300 medical students. The doctors and students involved are related to the infamous Vyapam scam.
The SC also rejected the students’ plea stating that they would refund the financial profits they gained by studying in heavily subsidised government institutions instead of costlier private institutions.
Writing the judgement, the Chief Justice declared, “We have no difficulty in concluding in favour of rule of law… Fraud cannot be allowed to trounce, on the stratagem of public good.”
The Vyapam Scam
The Vyapam Scam burst into public debate in mid-2015. In a nutshell, Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), or “Vyapam”, is a government body responsible for conducting several entrance tests in the state. Admissions to educational institutes in the state are also under its ambit. The scam involved many undeserving applicants who bribed officials through intermediaries for getting high ranks and posts.
The Vyapam Scam has evolved into one of the most massive and murky corruption scandals in recent times. It involves bribery, impersonation, forgery and misuse of powers by various officials. There are over 2000 people accused, many of whom are prominent leaders, and over 40 of the accused have been found dead.
The scam’s implications are enormous. Anand Rai, the chief whistleblower of the scam, commented on this in an interview with The Logical Indian: “It is not limited to Madhya Pradesh; the entire country is party to it. Medical exams, civil services – virtually all recruitment entrances have become plagued with corruption. In 2012, for example, the AIIMS paper was leaked. Since then, we have been working hard to curb this rising tide of corruption. Exposing someone is one thing, but convicting them is a whole other ball game. It’s also a whole lot more difficult. The guilty who are freed continue to commit the crimes, and continue to dilute the integrity of the system.”
The investigation into the scam has been, largely, slackening. Anand Rai lamented on the pace of the investigation: “250 FIRs have been registered. But only 10% of these have been filed. We hoped the CJI (Chief Justice Of India) would work faster and more efficiently; however, this has not been the case.”
In their 83-page judgement, the bench – which included Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra – said, “The actions of the appellants are founded on unacceptable behaviour and in complete breach of rule of law. Their actions constitute acts of deceit… National character, in our considered view, cannot be sacrificed for benefits – individual or societal.”
The bench observed: “If we desire to build a nation on the touchstone of ethics and character, and if our determined goal is to build a nation where only rule of law prevails, then we cannot accept the claim of the appellants (students) for suggested societal gains (by allowing them to keep the degrees on the condition of doing social service free of cost for some years).”
The Logical Indian applauds the Supreme Court’s judgement. The development is a welcome one and takes us one step closer to punishing all those involved in the Vyapam scam.