Supreme Court Directs Maharashtra to Conduct Final Counselling For PG Medical, Dental Courses by June 14 [04-06-2019]

New Delhi: Coming down heavily on the Maharashtra government for the problems being faced by students in admissions to post graduate medical and dental courses in the 2019-20 academic year, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed it to conduct the final round of counselling by June 14.

The court questioned the state for not conducting any counselling after the apex court's order stayed the notification to grant 10 per cent reservation in the admissions for 2019-20 to economically weaker sections (EWS) in PG medical and dental courses.

A vacation bench of Justices Indu Malhotra and M R Shah directed the state to issue advertisements in local newspapers, having wide publication, for counselling for admission in the current academic year and also to specify that it would be the "final round of counselling". It directed that the entire process of counselling should be completed on or before June 14 and admissions be given on the basis of merit.

The bench also directed that no further petition and application with regard to admission in PG medical courses in the state for the current academic year would be entertained by any other court. The apex court said no student would be permitted to change preference given in the earlier admission form.

It passed the order on pleas filed by some medical students seeking fresh round of counselling after the re-drawing of the merit list. They approached the top court, following its order of staying the state's notification to grant 10 per cent quota to EWS category students in PG medical and dental courses for the current academic year.

During the hearing, the bench asked the counsel appearing for Maharashtra and State Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell as to why fresh counselling was not done after re-drawing of the merit list. "We do not want to pass any order which will affect other students," the bench said, adding, "You (state) are the author of all these problems. It is very improper."

If further said,"The moment EWS quota is made open to general category, a fresh counselling has to be done. You (state) cannot do it as per your wish. Meritorious students cannot be thrown out of the window like this. How can you do it without any fresh counselling."

The apex court told advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar, appearing for the state and the counsel who was representing the state CET cell, that they must adopt a "fair process" in the admissions. The counsel appearing for the CET cell told the bench that re-shuffling of merit list has been done as per the apex court's order. The bench referred to the difficulties faced by the students and said that the candidates cannot be left to be in stress due to all this.

The counsel appearing for some of the petitioners said that previous rounds of counselling stood cancelled and after re-drawing the merit list, no fresh counselling has been conducted. Katneshwarkar told the bench that after the apex court order staying the 10 per cent quota, the merit list has been re-shuffled but no fresh counselling was done.

"How long does the counselling take? You can easily do it in two days. It can be done online also. Today, the situation has changed with EWS quota being deleted," the bench said. When the counsel appearing for the CET cell referred to some legal provisions, the bench said, "You are the persons who have created this trouble and now you are talking about legal rules".

"Counselling was cancelled. It has to be re-done. Orders of the Supreme Court have to be complied with," the bench said. The bench noted the suggestions given by the counsel appearing for the Medical Council of India (MCI) who said that instead of online counselling, the state should conduct it manually and CET cell should issue advertisement in this regard.

The bench termed the suggestion given by MCI counsel as "fair" and asked the state and CET cell to conduct the final round of counselling. One of the fresh pleas filed by one of the petitioners had said that "new seat matrix", "fresh choice filing of medical streams" and "fresh round of counselling for admissions" should be allowed in view of the fact that court has stayed 10 per cent quota to students of EWS in courses for the current academic year.

Another fresh plea was filed by some other medical students seeking restoration of 10 per cent EWS quota in admissions in the current academic session. The apex court had earlier threatened contempt proceedings against Maharashtra government officials for "virtually overriding" its order staying 10 per cent quota to students of EWS in admissions to PG medical and dental courses in 2019-20.

It had also extended till June 14, the deadline for concluding the admission process, asking the Maharashtra government to refresh the merit list after excluding the EWS category students.


05 Jun 2019