The Punjab and Haryana high court has stayed the decision of Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Amritsar, to fill its 11 MBBS NRI seats under the Sikh minority quota by conducting its own exam so as to admit ineligible candidates who could not otherwise qualify the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT)-2014 by securing 50% marks.
While hearing a petition filed by Simran Kaur of Ludhiana, the court headed by justice K Kannan on Friday also issued notices to the state government, the medical institute, the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, to file their replies within two weeks.
The petitioner, a Sikh MBBS aspirant from the general category, has sought directions to the private institute as well as BFUHS to convert 11 vacant NRI seats under the Sikh minority quota, left after second centralised counselling on July 28, into the general category as per the conditions laid down in the prospectus.
The petitioner’s counsel, Saurav Verma, argued that the institute’s decision was violating conditions of its own prospectus that says NRI seats would be filled only from those candidates who qualify AIPMT-2014 and thus there was no question of conducting a separate exam for them on July 10. He added that as per the settled proposition of law, the prospectus has the force of law, and after the start of selection process, no change could be made in the prospectus. Also, the MCI, in a similar case, had earlier informed the court that there was no scope to reduce the eligibility criteria for NRI seats from 50% to 45% in AIPMT, as requested by the Punjab government.
The medical institute had illegally issued a notice on its website, inviting applications for admission to MBBS/BDS (NRI seats), for which the last date was June 30. The notice read, “All NRI candidates will have to qualify ‘UG (undergraduate) entrance test’ which will be conducted by the institute (only for NRI candidates) itself on July 10 at 11am on this institute’s premises. If eligible NRI candidates from the Sikh minority are not available, then the vacant seats will be filled through NRI candidates belonging to other communities.”
The petitioner had cleared AIPMT-2014, conducted on May 4. As per the merit in the first counselling held on June 25, the petitioner got the 103rd rank in the Amritsar medical institute. The petitioner appeared in the second counselling held on July 28, in which all seats were filled and the last seat was offered to the candidate having the 98th rank. But 11 vacant seats of NRIs were not offered to general candidates.