The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) allowed seats in its coveted postgraduate programmes to go waste this year, following an admission policy, which violates Supreme Court judgments, something that it could have avoided.
AIIMS cancelled its open counselling scheduled for July 28 meant for vacant seats, even though at least nine seats were vacant as on that date, documents accessed by the Hindustan Times and an affidavit submitted by AIIIMS itself revealed.
Aspirants to those seats have challenged the AIIMS decision in the Supreme Court, where the institute, in its affidavit, has accepted that "some students did not pursue their course and so their seats became vacant".
At least seven seats fell vacant before the date of the scheduled open counselling, which was called off.
Contrary to its own admission now, AIIMS claimed that there were no vacant seats while cancelling the open counselling.
The institute has argued that the vacant seats will not go waste and it will fill up those seats next year during admissions. But its argument, clearly mentioned in its affidavit, violates two earlier SC judgments that bar medical colleges from carrying forward vacant seats to the next academic year.
AIIMS officials had no explanation as to why they did not hold the open counselling as was scheduled even when they knew seats had fallen vacant.
The prospectus of the institute clearly allows open counselling. AIIMS has, however, rejected the students' allegation that the seats were allowed to go waste to facilitate "back-door entries."
In the Medical Council of India vs Madhu Singh and Others, 2002 case, the SC has said that carrying forward vacant seats violates the MCI's own regulations. "As the definition of "admission capacity" shows it is the maximum number of students that could be fixed by the MCI from time to time for being admitted to the course and training."
"By carrying forward the unfilled seats from one year to the subsequent, there is necessarily increase in the number of seats, that is, admission capacity," the order by a bench of justices Arijit Pasayat and Ruma Pal said.
This order also quotes a number of other judgments against carrying forward the vacant seats.