Delhi scamsters, I-T raids bring focus on seat blocking

‘Seat blocking’ may have become a popular phrase after the Income Tax raids on two medical institutions recently. But experts say the racket was murkier than it sounds and called for amendments to the law. 

According to them, it is malpractice carried out with finesse at several levels starting from impersonating during entrance test to “forging” the seat at the time of seat selection. 

Justice D V Shylendra Kumar, a retired High Court judge and former chairperson of the Fee Regulatory Committee constituted by the Karnataka government during the 2017-18 academic year, told DH: “There is no such thing called blocking. It is impersonation, forgery and fraud.”

He said investigating the students who take seats and later surrender them will definitely help catch the main culprits. Besides institutions and agents, there are others involved in such activities, including students, he added.

Meanwhile, officials of the state medical education department and Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) said there was no official complaint against “blocking”. As there was a provision to fill “stray” seats at the level of colleges as per a Supreme Court judgment, the government cannot intervene.

“On paper, it is impossible for the government to make out if a seat is allotted illegally or the institute has collected exorbitant fees because whatever the details they produce before the government will be as per the norms,” said a senior official of the department of medical education.

Experts, therefore, recommend amendments to the existing Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admissions and Determination of Fee) Act, 2006, to put an end to the malpractice.

A former administrative officer of the KEA told DH: “At present, the government is returning the surrendered seats to the colleges concerned to avoid financial loss to the institutes.

Instead, the government should recover the entire course fee from students who surrender seats as a penalty and transfer that amount to the college,” he said.

Karnataka hotspot

The scamsters operate from New Delhi. They prefer Karnataka because it has highest number of medical colleges. 

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