NEET admissions row: Fill vacant seats through combined counselling, SC tells Maharashtra

The bench added that in the second or third counselling, students will be taken by making a combined list of those who got themselves registered with the state government as well with the deemed universities.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 29, 2016 7:39 am

Making a one-time exception, the Supreme Court extended till October 7 the deadline for Maharashtra to complete the process of medical admissions and held that all vacant seats in Maharashtra will now be filled up through state-mandated centralised counselling. A bench led by Justice A K Sikri clarified that admissions already made shall not be disturbed keeping in view the interest of the students and “to bring about an equitable solution”.

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“Insofar as second or third counselling is concerned, that shall be a joint exercise, which means that it shall be done by the Committee of the state government, which shall include one representative each from these (deemed) universities…It would be a centralised counselling for all the deemed universities and not university-wise counselling,” said the court.

The bench added that in the second or third counselling, students will be taken by making a combined list of those who got themselves registered with the state government as well with the deemed universities. The court extended the deadline from September 30 to October 7, asking the state government as well as the deemed universities to ensure that all seats are filled and there is no vacant seat in medical and dental colleges.

“We make it clear once again that the aforesaid directions are given in the peculiar situation that has arisen. We are reminded of the words of the Chief Justice Marshall that life of law is not logic but the experience. We also clarify that this order is passed in exercise of powers under Article 142 of the Constitution,” it said. The top court is empowered under Article 142 to issue any direction to meet the ends of justice.

The court was adjudicating appeals by the Maharashtra government and the Center against an order by the Bombay High Court. On August 31, the High Court had stayed the Government Resolution (GR) issued by Maharashtra government and the circular issued by the Centre, mandating combined counselling of aspirants for medical and dental courses.

Issued on August 20 this year, the GR had made it compulsory for all deemed medical universities and dental colleges to admit students on the basis of the state-organised “Combined Counselling/Centralised Admission Process”. The GR itself was based on a letter written by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, dated August 9.

The High Court order was passed on a clutch of petitions filed by D Y Patil university and other deemed universities challenging the GR as well as the circular issued by the Union Health Ministry. They contended that the deemed universities are governed by the statutory powers of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and also by the Medical Council of India and that the state government cannot infringe upon their rights to admit students.

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