Three petitions filed by 387 students pursuing Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 11 private dental colleges of Punjab, seeking regularisation of their admissions for the 2012-13 session, failed to find favour with the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday.
While the court refused to allow them to appear in the first-year examination starting on June 26, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, immediately swung into action and postponed the examination.
"The examination will now start on July 5," BFUHS vice-chancellor Dr SS Gill said.
Meanwhile, the high court vacation bench headed by justice AK Mittal issued a notice of motion to the state government and the BFUHS to file their replies on June 26. The petitioners' fate is hanging in the balance since they were admitted to the dental colleges on the basis of their merit in 10+2 examination and had not been selected on the basis of merit in the Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET)-2012.
"Unless your admission is valid, how can you be allowed to appear in exams?" questioned justice Mittal. He added that as far as medical courses were concerned, there could not be any relaxation. "There is a recent judgment of the Supreme Court that says nobody should be permitted like this," he said.
When petitioners' counsel Manish Kumar Singla requested the court to allow the students to provisionally sit in the examination on Wednesday, justice Mittal replied, "Why did you come so late? I cannot issue orders ex-parte without issuing notices to the authorities and before hearing them."
The students had also requested the court to issue directions to the BFUHS to issue them roll numbers so as to enable them to appear in the examination starting on June 26 as per the date sheet issued on June 6.
The institutes that have been made respondents are Guru Nanak Dev Dental College and Research Institute, Sunam; National Dental College and Hospital, Dera Bassi; Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Hospital and Research Institute, Ludhiana; Luxmi Bai Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Patiala; Genesis Institute of Dental Sciences and Research, Ferozepur; Dashmesh Institute of Research and Dental Sciences, Faridkot; Rayat-Bahra Dental College and Hospital, SAS Nagar; Sukhmani Dental College, Dera Bassi; Desh Bhagat Dental College, Muktsar; and SKS Sarabha Dental College, Ludhiana.
'Students admitted as per prospectus criteria'
The court was informed that the petitioners were admitted after fulfilling the relevant criteria in the prospectus, their fee had also been accepted by the university and they had been attending classes regularly. The court was informed that at no point of time had the university authorities informed the petitioners throughout the year that their admissions could not be regularised. It was also submitted that once the petitioners fulfil all conditions mentioned in the prospectus, then they cannot be deprived of their right to education.
It was submitted that petitioners were initially informed that the roll numbers for the first-year examination would be issued in the third week of June, but till date they had not been issued the same as had been done to their other classmates. But when the petitioners' parents approached the BFUHS, the university authorities informed them that their wards' admissions could not be regularised.
Plea for CBI probe
The issue had come to the fore when the BFUHS had itself accepted to the state government that 11 dental colleges affiliated to it had illegally admitted students in the BDS course. Hindustan Times had done a series of news stories on the issue, on the basis of which a public interest litigation was filed in the high court seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The state government and BFUHS have to file their replies in the case on the next date of hearing, July 15.