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Swati Shinde Gole, Piyush Bhusari, Chaitanya Deshpande| TNN | 

PUNE/KOLHAPUR/NASHIK: Around 50 candidates in Kolhapur and 20 in Nashik were not allowed to take the MHCET law entrance examination on Sunday for failure to produce their Aadhaar cards as photo-identity proof. In Pune, another 15-20 candidates were similarly not allowed into the exam hall for not carrying valid government identification cards.
With cases of candidates missing the examination for the same reason in places like Aurangabad too, students’ unions have decided to take up the issue at the state level. The examination was held across the state for admission to the five-year integrated law course.

Officials at the Dhole Patil Engineering College exam centre in Wagholi blamed the candidates for not carrying proper identification. “The CET cell of the state goverment had categorically mentioned on its website and on the hall tickets that candidates must carry Aadhaar, PAN or other government identity. The candidates seem to have taken it casually at such a crucial exam,” an official said.

Students miss exam for not having Aadhaar

However, furious students at the Shiye exam centre, around 8km from Kolhapur city, said that the officials were demanding only original Aadhaar cards, even rejecting photocopies. They demanded that the examination be held again, saying they would otherwise end up losing a year.

One of the students said they were allowed into the exam centre from 8am onwards and the examination was to be held from 10am to 2pm. “The parents of some students, who had accompanied them for the exam, rushed back home and brought the original Aadhaar cards by 11am. However, the officials refused to accept the cards at that time,” he said.

The student said several candidates had other valid photo-identity proofs like college Icards and the board examination hall ticket, but the officials rejected those.

In Nashik, the test was conducted at WNS Institute on Wadala Road. More than 700 students from across the district were to appear for the test.

Students said their Aadhaar cards had already been scanned at the time of filing the online applications for the exam. “The Aadhaar number was mentioned on the hall ticket and students were expected to carry the original Aadhaar card or a copy with them. However, the hall ticket also mentioned that any valid photoidentity proof could be produced. Still, the officials demanded only Aadhaar cards,” a student said.

Someshwar Langhe, who missed the exam, said, “We reached the centre at 8am. Though the exam was to start a couple of hours later, no one told us that Aadhaar was the only valid photo-identity proof. When we argued later, the officials told us to go home and get our Aadhaar cards. However, it was too late by then.”

Speaking to TOI, K G Patil, an official at the exam centre, said, “The hall tickets of these students clearly mention the Aadhaar card numbers. They have Aadhaar cards, so we can’t accept any other photo ID. I told the students to go to nearby cybercafés and bring copies of their Aadhaar cards. Some of them did so and were allowed into the exam halls.”

However, students complained that the nearest cybercafé was far from the centre. “Instead, we requested the centre in-charge to allow us to use the internet and computers available there to get prints of our Aadhaar cards. However, they refused to cooperate,” said Vaishnavi More, another student.

Meanwhile, students’ leader Ajinkya Gite, senate member of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) Amit Patil and senior lawyers from Nashik went to the centre and requested that the students be allowed to appear for the exam. However, their request was turned down.