The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has issued a verdict concerning the controversial Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) in Pakistan.
Mass Cheating Scandal Shakes MDCAT 2023
The MDCAT 2023 exams, which took place on September 10 across 31 cities in the country, were clouded by allegations of widespread cheating. These claims prompted the PHC to intervene by issuing a stay order preventing the release of the test results.
Government Steps in With a Decisive Move
Subsequently, the provincial cabinet of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa made a critical decision to retake the MDCAT, casting uncertainty over the fate of countless aspiring medical and dental students.
Court Criticizes Lack of Initiative
During the court hearing, Justice Syed Arshad Ali questioned the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for its failure to initiate an inquiry after receiving a letter from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). He expressed his dissatisfaction with the PMDC’s lack of action when it was most needed.
The Advocate General informed the court that the provincial government had decided to conduct the test again with the approval of the cabinet due to irregularities in the September 10 test.
He stressed that the government had maintained regular communication with Khyber Medical University (KMU) regarding this matter. Furthermore, he assured the court that stringent action would be taken against anyone involved in illegal activities.
Debate Over Retesting
Amidst the legal proceedings, lawyers on both sides presented their arguments. The petitioner’s counsel argued that retaking the test would unfairly penalize students who had performed well.
Parents of the students attending the hearing voiced concerns about the cancellation of the entire test, suggesting that those who obtained marks unfairly should be identified and penalized, rather than nullifying the entire exam.
Court Questions Professionalism of Authorities
Justice Syed Arshad Ali criticized KMU and PMDC for their unprofessional approach, questioning why they did not take action themselves when inquiries were conducted.
PMDC’s lawyer stated that the test had been declared valid during a meeting of vice-chancellors on September 15, and action had been recommended against those involved.
In a swift decision, the court ruled that the provincial government would conduct the MDCAT test again, bringing the writ petitions to a close.