The second round of counselling for Bathinda-based Adesh University’s unfilled MBBS (48) and BDS (100) seats would be conducted by the Punjab government through the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, on July 24 (Thursday).
The decision came from the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday while dismissing Adesh University’s application for permitting it to conduct the second counselling for its medical seats. However, after detailed arguments, justice GS Sandhawalia reserved the judgment on Adesh University’s petition challenging the Punjab government’s June 16 order stopping it from independent counselling and ordering BFUHS to conduct centralised counselling. Now, the court’s judgment would only decide the fate of medical aspirants counselled by BFUHS and Adesh University separately for Bathinda university’s medical seats.
When Adesh University’s senior counsel KS Sidhu requested the court to allow the university rather than BFUHS to conduct the second independent counselling “subject to any condition”, justice Sandhawalia said, “What prejudice would be caused to you? Your seats will be filled anyway. The future of students would be protected either way.”
The bench also asked Adesh University “under which authority you held (first) counselling on your own?” adding that, “it is apparent that you have jumped the gun.”
Complying with the state government’s June 16 orders, BFUHS, through centralised counselling on June 21, had admitted 102 MBBS aspirants for a total number of 150 Adesh University seats. However, following the high court’s June 23 permission to Adesh University to hold ‘provisional counselling’ for its medical seats “subject to the outcome of the writ petition”, it had also held counselling on June 24, admitting 84 MBBS aspirants.
But these 84 students were those who were not admitted by BFUHS earlier. There are four such candidates also who have deposited fee at BFUHS as well as Adesh University during separate counselling. Till date, neither BFUHS nor Adesh University has admitted students for 100 BDS seats of Adesh University. During the pendency of the case in the high court, Punjab has also got the Medical Council of India’s (MCI’s) approval of 300 more MBBS seats, which may be helpful in adjusting those students who are affected if the court holds counselling of any one of the universities illegal.
Additional advocate general Deepak Balyan argued that Adesh University had submitted its statute as well as ordinance to the state belatedly and the meeting on the issue was scheduled on July 24 between the health department and Adesh University officials. “In case Adesh University’s statute is passed now, it would have a prospective effect and not retrospective,” Balyan submitted.
He added that Adesh University could not conduct independent counselling for its seats till its statute and ordinance were pending clearance before the state government.
The BFUHS counsel informed the court that as per the state government notification, the Faridkot university was competent for counselling of seats even for private dental and medical colleges. “They (Adesh University) have not challenged the notification till date,” he added.
Adesh University’s view
University’s senior counsel KS Sidhu submitted, “In 2012, our statute came and they (state) have not raised any objection till date. We can’t close the university just because they (state) are sleeping over it and not giving clearance. We have got permissions of the MCI, DCI (Dental Council of India) and UGC (University Grants Commission), and it is an autonomous body.” He further argued, “Now, the only thing is that we have to get formal approval from the state. Even to the state government’s decision we may not agree.” Sidhu argued that the university had the authority to conduct its independent admission and fix the fee.
The court’s judgment would decide legal maintainability of the Punjab government’s June 16 order barring Adesh University from independent counselling. It would also decide the fate of students who underwent counselling by BFUHS and Adesh University for Bathinda university’s medical seats.
Medical admission row