The Centre’s mandate for combined counselling to admit medical students got a shot in the arm Thursday as the Supreme Court supported the idea and cancelled the counselling conducted so far by private medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh.
A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Justice A R Dave, said that combined counselling should be held afresh, and asked the state government to complete the process for both private and government colleges within a week. It said two representatives of private medical colleges would participate in the counselling process to be conducted by the state government.
The order came on a contempt petition filed by the Madhya Pradesh government, alleging that private medical colleges had been refusing to admit students who had taken part in the centralised counselling being conducted by it. The state added that private medical colleges insisted on admitting students after conducting the counselling on their own.
The bench, that also comprised Justices A K Sikri, R K Agrawal, Adarsh K Goel and R Banumathi, did not approve of the private colleges’ demand and said that the state government was right in conducting combined counselling based on the ranking of the students in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
This order is expected to positively impact appeals filed by the Centre and Maharashtra government against a Bombay High Court order, which had stayed combined counselling in the state. The High Court order has already been stayed by the top court, but a final decision is yet to be taken by the five-judge bench.