Medical aspirants from Chandigarh continue to be a harried lot due to uncertainty over eligibility criteria for admission in the 85% quota of MBBS/BDS courses in medical colleges across Punjab.
Many UT students feel they are at a clear disadvantage as compared to those from Punjab who are entitled to dual admission benefits.
In a notification issued by the department of medical education and research, Punjab, on March 30, 2015, it was clearly mentioned, “A candidate who has passed his/her Class 12 or other equivalent examination from a recognised institution in Chandigarh will also be eligible to get admission in MBBS/ BDS course provided he/she is Punjab bonafide resident.”
The notification had created panic among those pursuing Class 12 from the UT but are not necessarily residents of Punjab.
Pertinent to mention that the Punjab and Haryana high court in the ‘Harleen Cheema versus State of Punjab’ case in 2012 had ruled that to be eligible for the state quota of Punjab, the parameter requiring the candidate to clear Class 12 exam from a school in Punjab would be fulfilled even if the candidate does his Class 12 from a school from Chandigarh on the ground that it is the capital of Punjab.
Ruhi, a Class-12 student from the city said, “By adding “provided the student is a bonafide Punjab resident”, the notification issued by the Punjab government goes above what the high court has said. Why shouldn’t we be entitled to get admission in Punjab colleges even if we are residents of Chandigarh, just like Punjab residents?”
Meanwhile, the high court also ruled in favour of SAS Nagar resident Jaspreet Kaur (Jaspreet Kaur versus UT Chandigarh and ORS) in September 2015, even though the candidate didn’t qualify the UT eligibility criteria.
A student, requesting anonymity, said, “I also plan to go to the high court even though I have not done my Class 12 from Chandigarh but on the ground that I was Chandigarh resident till Class 10. The UT doesn’t seem to want to favour its residents.”
Commenting on the issue, Dr Arvind Goyal, local academician, said , “In order to get eligibility from Chandigarh in addition to that of Punjab, Himachal and Haryana, many students from these states shift to Chandigarh schools in Classes 11 and 12 and get dual eligibility. To safeguard interest of students, the UT must modify the eligibility criteria so that the students who belong to Chandigarh are not at a disadvantage.”
UT home secretary Anurag Agarwal said the administration would challenge the decision and fight it out in the court. Adding to this, Atul Sachdeva, directorprincipal, Government Medical College and Hospital said, “Our guidelines are very clear, which is why we have decided to file an Letter Patents Appeal (LPA) against this in court since our petition was declined twice.”He added, “We are in the process of looking into the UT guidelines and review it if need be keeping in mind that the Chandigarh students are not at a disadvantage, but this would be applicable only from the next admission round.”
However, when HT contacted Punjab director medical education and research Dr Manjit Mohi, she clarified, “As per our 2015-16 notification, we have given admission to residents from Chandigarh as per the ruling that Chandigarh is the capital city of Punjab and hence if a student is a bonafide resident of UT, he/she is also a resident of Punjab.”She added the same would be followed until the new notification comes out for the next admission round.