The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday pulled up Adesh University, Bathinda, for going ahead with the counselling for its 250 medical seats – 150 MBBS and 100 BDS — for the 2014-15 session without even getting its mandatory statutes with regard to admission and fee fixation approved by the state government.
Hearing the case, justice GS Sandhawalia questioned the university, “How can you conduct counselling without the rules being approved?” Senior advocate KS Sidhu, appearing for the university, however, could not satisfy the court about the university’s decision to hold counselling except submitting that the vacation bench of the high court had allowed it to hold provisional counselling.
The court’s comments came when it was submitted by the state government counsel, “They (university) have submitted their statutes at a belated stage and the same are pending approval with the competent authority.”
Now the university officials have to appear before the principal secretary, higher education, on July 24 for deliberating upon the relevant statutes.
Adesh University on June 19 had approached the court challenging the state government’s June 16 decision of barring it from conducting counselling. The university had asserted that since it is an autonomous body and had all relevant permissions, the state government had no right to interfere in its admission process.
The government counsel submitted that the university misled the court on June 23 when it was allowed to hold a provisional counselling. The university had claimed that as per the high court order of May 1, quashing the state government’s December 7, 2012 order, it had the right to make admissions in MBBS and BDS courses in its affiliated colleges.
But, as per the state, the university did not quote relevant part of the judgment to gain advantage that reads, “It shall be open to the petitioner university to apply afresh in accordance with the provisions of the 2012 University Act for seeking the necessary permission which are required. The state government then shall take into consideration the applications filed and may call for necessary material or record and take a decision on the right of the petitioner-university after hearing the representative...”
STATE JUSTIFIES STAND
Clarifying the state government’s stand for the first time after filing of the petition in the court, Dr Tejbir Singh, director, research and medical education, submitted, “The government took a serious notice of the advertisement and issued orders dated June 16 restraining the university from holding counselling. These orders are just and fair considering the exploitation of the general public at the hands of the private universities and also against the orders of the Supreme Court in Priya Gupta’s case in which it has been ordered that there should be centralised counselling for admission to MBBS/BDS courses…”
Dr Singh said that without the approvals being accorded to the university under the University Act, 2012, it was not competent to hold the counselling and fee fixation contrary to the statute and policies of the state government.
After hearing arguments, the court adjourned the case for July 17.
Govt took note of HT report
The Hindustan Times news ‘At Rs 40 lakh per MBBS seat, Adesh varsity charges 20-fold’ (June 11) had highlighted that the university was charging Rs 40 lakh per MBBS seat, which is 20 times the fees fixed by the government. Taking a note of it, the Punjab government on June 16 had stopped the university from counselling and ordered the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, to conduct centralised counselling. Since the state government failed to satisfy the high court about its decision, the court had on June 23 allowed the university to conduct ‘provisional counselling’.