Health ministry to move SC again for permission to fill vacant medical seats
The Union health ministry will once again approach the Supreme Court for permission to hold counselling to fill up over 500 vacant medical seats in super speciality courses across the country.
The apex court had declined the ministry’s similar request on September 22 as the Medical Council of India, the medical education regulator, had opposed it.
In a recent development, the SC-appointed oversight committee (OC), reconstituted this year in August to examine MCI’s directive, has strongly condemned the regulator’s stand.
The OC, in its letter to MCI and the director general, health services (DGHS), has favoured filling up the vacant seats with one extra round of counselling.
“We are happy with the OC’s decision but only the apex court can extend the admission deadline,” says a senior health ministry official informing that the matter might come up for hearing on October 11.
Admission in surgery (MCh) and medicine (DM) courses is done on the basis of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) results.
As per the SC guideline, the last date to finish admission was August 31, 2017. However, when over 700 seats out of about 2000 remained vacant after the last date, the apex court, on ministry’s request on September 11, extended it to September 14.
More than 600 students opted for seats in the extended counselling. However, about 400 didn’t report to the college and dropped out.
“This year, for the first time, the DGHS held a centralised counselling and colleges in many states didn’t want to surrender all their seats. By the time they agreed to surrender, the last date of admission, August 31, was over,” says a close source in the ministry.
He added, “Except 69 seats, we had filled up all seats. But a lot of non-serious candidates, who had participated in the counselling, didn’t report to the colleges and the vacancy shot up to over 500.”
The official said that from next year onwards, the ministry might introduce some measures to check withdrawal of admission after seat allotment.
“We might make it mandatory to deposit first year’s fee at the time of seat allotment during counselling so that it won’t be easy for a candidate to withdraw,” said the official.
It’s interesting to see the MCI’s stand in the SC after the OC’s whip to fill the remaining seats.
The MCI, while opposing the extension of the counselling dates, had said earlier in the SC that not only it will perpetuate indiscipline among colleges and candidates, it can also give undue benefit to ineligible candidates who can take the undue advantage.
“What’s the assurance that what happened in earlier counselling will not happen next time? We are not in favour of the extension,” says a source in the MCI.
Candidates, who haven’t got admission till now, say, “We are hoping a favourable order from the Supreme Court as it will save our one academic year.”