In a big relief to hundreds of MBBS/BDS aspirants aiming for Punjab medical institutions, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday made it clear that passing of Class-10 along with Classes 11 and 12 exams from Punjab schools is not mandatory to be eligible for the 85% state medical quota.
Putting an end to the worries of medical aspirants and their parents, the court headed by justice GS Sandhawalia allowed a bunch of 14 petitions challenging the Punjab government’s notification issued on March 7 overruling its earlier notification issued in 1996. As per the 1996 notification, which the state has to follow now, a candidate who has lived in Punjab for five years or studied two years in the state prior to the qualifying exam for admission to MBBS/BDS course would be eligible for its 85% state medical quota.
Justice Sandhawalia also ordered the state government that in case such a decision is taken by the state in future, it should keep students’ rights in mind and also the decision should not be implemented with retrospective effect as had been done in the present case.
The Punjab government’s decision had virtually rendered ineligible hundreds of medical aspirants who had passed Class-10 exam from Chandigarh or other states and had enrolled to Class 11 and 12 in Punjab schools to meet the eligibility criteria.
However, the notification was kept in abeyance by the high court on April 29 on the ground that the state government notification regarding change in its eligibility criteria came three months after the students had already applied for the forthcoming All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), which is the qualifying examination for getting admission to medical institutions under Punjab state medical quota.
After taking repeated opportunities from the court, the state government failed to take a clear stand on the issue on Wednesday. But the state government counsel informed the court that complying with earlier orders of the court issued on April 29, counselling had been completed for state medical colleges as per the old notification issued in 1996 and the state would comply whatever directions the court issues in the matter. On this, the court made its April 29 directions absolute on Wednesday.
Punjab has 10 medical colleges, including three run by the state government, with a total 770 MBBS seats. Also, there are 16 BDS colleges, including two run by the government, with a total of 1,150 seats.
December 31, 2013: Last date for submitting application for AIPMT
March 4, 2014: All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) conducted
March 7: Punjab govt issues notification with retrospective effect
March 26: Petitioners approach high court
April 29: HC keeps notification in abeyance
June 25: Last date for first counselling, as per Supreme Court order
July 2: HC allows bunch of petitions challenging Punjab notification