Create extra seat for MBBS aspirant: HC to Dadra and Nagar Haveli administration
Observing that the Covid-19 pandemic had claimed a lot of doctors and the doctors’ pool needed to be replenished fast, the Bombay high court (HC) has directed the Dadra and Nagar Haveli administration to create an additional seat for a meritorious student who did not get an admission to MBBS course.
The petitioner, who had scored 96 percentile (559 marks) in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) approached HC after finding that another student, having scored as low as 219 marks in NEET, had got admission, while she was refused a seat because of lack of clear guidelines in the admission brochure about unfilled seats that were reverted through all-India quota (AIQ) to state quota.
The student had claimed that rather than merit, the Union territory (UT) had given admissions during the mop-up round as per priority list based on domicile, which was unfair to her.
A division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni, while hearing the petition filed by Silvassa resident Annu Sinsinwar, was informed by senior advocate Anil Anturkar that though the student had secured a high percentile, she was refused admission to the only medical college started in Silvassa in 2019.
Anturkar submitted that though Sinsinwar was domiciled in UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and had completed her secondary education in Silvassa, she had pursued her higher secondary education (Class 11 and Class 12) in Rajasthan. He submitted that as a result of this, the student had been deemed ineligible for admission to MBBS course based on the first three priorities stipulated in the admission brochure for academic year 2020-21.
It was also submitted that after the completion of the regular admission process, which included admission under AIQ, four seats had been reverted as they remained unfilled. As Sinsinwar had failed to get admission in AIQ through the reserved quota, she sought admission based on merit to the four reverted seats. However, as there was no prescribed mode to dispose of reverted seats in the admission brochure, UT had included the four seats in its quota and allotted it based on the three priorities.
Anturkar argued that while it was expected that as per clause 5 (5) of Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, of the Medical Council of India the UT should have filled up the four seats solely on merit, but as they did not do so, the efforts of the student would be wasted. and hence the court should direct UT administration to accommodate her.
Advocate Sunny Punamiya, for the four students who were allotted the reverted seats, submitted that they were not at fault and cancelling their admission would result in hardships, and hence the court should consider their interest too while passing orders.
After hearing the submissions, the bench observed, “We may observe that the case in hand stands peculiarly and in such situation, interest of justice would imminently require that the petitioner be accommodated without disturbing the admissions of respondents. The court, in such a situation, would also take into consideration such equitable circumstances so as not to disturb the educational interest of the students.”
In light of these observations, HC directed the authorities to admit Sinsinwar forthwith, by creating an additional seat in the first year of MBBS course, while keeping intact the admission of the fourth student.
In a separate addendum to the judgment, the chief justice observed, “It is rather painful when a candidate scoring as low as 219 marks in NEET obtains an admission in MBBS course because of a quota for the Coast Guards – with which I have no qualm – whereas a candidate like the petitioner, scoring as high as 559 marks in the same qualifying examination, is left high and dry and suffers for no fault on her part compelling her to seek judicial intervention.”
While observing that there was no explanation from the authorities as to why the admission brochure did not have guidelines for allotment of reverted seats, he noted, “The admission process suffers from a serious taint and if such tainted admission process is saved, the rule of merit would be compromised which, in turn, would frustrate the labour of meritorious students like the petitioner, apart from develop in them of a sense of aversion to the concept of qualifying examinations.”
He concluded that as Covid-19 had taken away from the society a number of reputed doctors, the pool of doctors had to be replenished fast.
“If meritorious students desirous of becoming doctors are not encouraged in such challenging times, it would amount to a grave disservice to the society,” said justice Datta.