Dashing the hopes of the Punjab government to reduce the eligibility for NRI-quota MBBS aspirants from 50% to 45% marks in the entrance test, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has categorically said “there is no scope of deviation” from its regulations. This effectively means the vacant seats — at least 94 in this case — will to be converted to general category according to the prospectus of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, as only three NRI quota seats had found eligible takers.
During a hearing of a petition effectively seeking lowering of the bar for NRI candidates, the MCI informed the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday that any admission in NRI quota of any medical college had also to be in consonance with the provisions of its Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997. And, as per the regulations, “Such candidates seeking admission in MBBS course under the NRI quota of a medical college are obliged to secure 50% marks in the combined entrance test conducted by an admitting authority for being eligible to be admitted in a medicine course.” The test is the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT).
The petition challenges the state government’s notification of March 7 whereby rules for admission to MBBS and BDS had been laid down. The government had shot off a communication to the MCI on July 9 seeking lowering of eligibility percentage in case of NRI aspirants from 50% to 45% in AIPMT-2014. The letter was written as, 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%. But the court was informed on Thursday that the MCI’s regulations are, as held by the Supreme Court in a number of cases, “statutory, mandatory and binding in character”.
The petitioner, Akanksha Sharma, is seeking reliefs which are contrary to the statutory regulations, and thus she is not entitled to any relief, the MCI has said in its reply. The petitioner is aggrieved by the prospectus issued by the BFUHS whereby candidates applying under the NRI-quota have to appear and qualify the AIPMT apart from all other qualifying criteria. The case would now come up for hearing on August 25.
The criteria, and council’s role
Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997, state that any aspiring candidate seeking admission in MBBS must qualify his senior secondary (Class 12) exam with physics, chemistry, biology/bio-technology and English but should also obtain. Minimum 50% marks in physics, chemistry and biology/bio-technology subjects taken together and passing English a compulsory subject is mandatory in case of general category; and 40% in case of SC/ST/OBC.
The MCI is required to ensure admissions in all medical courses by the competent state/university authorities are made within the annual intake capacity sanctioned for each college by the MCI, and that the admissions are made as per the time schedule fixed in accordance with directions of the Supreme Court.