A Punjab Vidhan Sabha committee failed to take any decision on Friday regarding relaxation in the MBBS admission criteria for reserved categories in medical colleges of the state. Hence, vacant seats belonging to reserved categories will be merged into the general pool and filled from Saturday onwards when the third counselling begins at Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot.
The Vidhan Sabha’s Welfare Committee for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, headed by Akali MLA and retired high court judge Nirmal Singh, had called secretary, medical education, Punjab, Hussan Lal; director, medical education, Dr Tejbir Singh; and BFUHS v-c Dr SS Gill; for a meeting here on Friday to discuss criteria relaxation. The move had drawn flak from the Association of Parents of Medial Aspirants in Punjab, which had said that it was against the norms laid down in the BFUHS prospectus.
As per sources, the department of medical education made it clear that it could not ignore the Medical Council of India’s (MCI’s) guidelines, which did not allow any relaxation in the criteria for MBBS admissions.
Confirming the development, justice Nirmal Singh (retd) said, “Dr SS Gill (V-C) couldn’t attend the meeting due to some reasons. So, we have again called these officers on Tuesday and will take a decision at the next meeting.”
Talking to HT, the vice-chancellor said, “We have not received any communication from the medical education department or the state government, so the admission will be done as per the prospectus guidelines and the seats would be merged into the general category from Saturday.”
A number of reserved categories’ seats in medical colleges remained vacant after the second counselling in the last week of July for want of candidates meeting the minimum eligibility marks (40% for Scheduled Castes).
So, the university has called only those SC candidates who scored at least 40% marks in the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT)-2014. Similarly, only those NRI candidates have been called who scored at least 50% marks in the same examination.
Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana high court had dismissed a petition seeking relaxation in the eligibility criteria for NRI and SC students.
Previously, the Punjab government had urged the MCI to relax the MBBS admission criteria for SC and NRI candidates. But, the central regulator on medical education didn’t respond to the government communication.
However, while deposing in the high court last month on a petition filed by two NRI candidates seeking relaxation in eligibility marks for MBBS admission, the MCI had told the court that under its Graduate Medical Education Regulation, 1997, there was no provision or scope for lowering the criteria set for AIPMT. The MCI said medical admission regulations had been upheld by the Supreme Court in a number of cases and are “statutory, mandatory and binding in character”.
The high court later dismissed the NRI petition and asked BFUHS to stick to its prospectus.