The Delhi High Court has allowed an aspiring medical student to register for the second round of counselling for deemed universities after the due date, observing that “rules and procedure are the handmaid of justice and not its mistress”.
“It is a settled legal position that the construction of rules or procedure which promotes justice and prevents miscarriage has to be preferred. Rules and procedure are the handmaid of justice, and not its mistress,” said Justice Siddharth Mridul.
The court’s order came on a plea by Jasmeen Kaur, a Delhi resident, who had secured the all-India rank 24,392 in the NEET UG 2018 examination.
She could not register for the second round of counselling for admission to deemed universities, as she had marked her options as ‘All-India Quota’ seats as well as central university quota seats at the time of online registration. She had participated in the first round of counselling, but could not be granted admission on account of her All-India merit.
Following the order, the girl has now registered for the second counselling for deemed varsities.
Her counsel had argued that due to the options exercised by her at the time of registration, she has now been excluded from registering afresh for the second round of counselling.
The Centre’s standing counsel, Ripudaman Bhardwaj, had informed the court that during the process of online registration, candidates are permitted one opportunity to reset their choices, and since the petitioner has utilised that opportunity, she cannot be permitted to register for the second round.
The court said, “It is trite to state that merit cannot be defeated on technical grounds.”
“It is an admitted position that considering the All-India rank secured by the petitioner, she may be entitled to participate successfully in the second round of counselling for admission to a medical course conducted by deemed universities… the only course that commends itself in the interest of justice is to direct respondent no. 1 (Union Of India) to permit the petitioner to register afresh for the deemed universities category in the second round of counselling,” said Justice Mridul.