Terming the Punjab government’s act as a ‘fraud’ with MBBS aspirants, the Punjab and Haryana high court has put a stay on the operation of the state government’s letter addressed to the Medical Council of India (MCI) on July 9, seeking lowering of the eligibility percentage in case of NRI aspirants from 50% to 45% in the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT-2014).
Justice K Kannan has also ordered that the state government is at liberty to convert unfilled MBBS seats under the NRI (non-resident Indian) quota to the general category. Taking up a petition filed by six general-category MBBS aspirants, the court issued notices of motion to the Punjab government, Faridkotbased Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) and the MCI for filing their replies before August 25. As per the Supreme Court directions, medical admissions have to be completed before September 30.
After the completion of second counselling by BFUHS last month, there were only three eligible candidates under the NRI quota who could score more than 50% marks in AIPMT-2014 and the remaining seats (about 94) were left vacant. Moreover, some seats under SC/ST/OBC category were also left vacant.
Petitioners’ counsel Saurav Verma has sought directions to convert all vacant seats of NRI, SC/ST (Scheduled Castes/Tribes) and OBC (Other Backward Classes) left after the second centralised counselling into the general category specifically, in view of the prospectus notified by BFUHS on March 7. The court was informed that in the prospectus, no other exception was made with regard to the eligibility condition of 50% marks in AIPMT, except for SC/ ST and OBC (40%), and physically handicapped (45%).
PRIVATE COLLEGES’ INFLUENCE
The petitioners have alleged that the state government and BFUHS are acting under the influence of private colleges who are fearing financial loss to the tune of crores of rupees as each NRI seat generates an approximate revenue of ` 80 lakh. Therefore, the petitioners are apprehending illegal action on the part of the state government and the MCI, it was submitted.
The court was informed that the petitioners were more meritorious than the ineligible NRI aspirants and the candidates belonging to the NRI and reserved category were well aware of the eligibility criteria and knowing everything, they sat in the AIPMT without any protest. Thus, their chance of getting admission in the final counselling should not be taken away illegally.
WHAT PROSPECTUS SAYS?
The NRI seats shall only be offered to qualified eligible candidates who clear the AIPMT-2014 with more than 50% marks.
Clause 25(vii) reads, “In case of any seat remaining vacant under the NRI quota, during/after 2nd centralised counselling of NRI quota in state colleges, shall go to the general category and in the unaided-private colle ges/ minority colleges shall go to general category of the management/minority quota. The NRI left-over seats converted into government quota/management/minority quota will be filled by the counselling committee from among the eligible candidates.”
Also, clause 28 (k) reads, “Seats remaining vacant under any of the reserved category shall be transferred to the general category or vice-versa.”