Updated: June 10, 2022 11:50:44 am
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed petitions seeking another round of counselling for vacant seats in the NEET-PG All India Quota, pointing out that eight to nine rounds were already held and that the decision of the Centre not to hold another round of counselling is not arbitrary, but in the interest of medical education and public health.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and Aniruddha Bose said most of the 1,456 vacant seats are in non-clinical courses and that “students cannot still pray for admissions for those seats remaining vacant after approximately one year of the academic session and remaining vacant after 8 or 9 rounds of counselling”.
Referring to the decisions of the apex court in two earlier matters which raised similar prayers, the bench said applying the law laid down by the court in those decisions to the facts of this case, the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) and the Union of India “have to adhere to the time schedule for completing the admission process”.
It added that “when the current admission of NEET 2021 is already behind time schedule, and even after conducting 8-9 rounds of counselling, still some seats which are mainly non-technical courses has remained vacant, and thereafter when a conscious decision is taken by the Union government and the medical council not to conduct a further special stray round of counselling, it cannot be said that the same is arbitrary”.
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The court said the “decision of the Union government and Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) not to have special stray round of counselling is in the interest of medical education and public health. There cannot be any compromise with the merits and the quality of the medical education which will ultimately affect public health… Granting of such relief now may affect the medical education and ultimately the public health,” the bench said dismissing the petitions.
Opposing the prayer for another round of counselling, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday that nine rounds of counselling had already taken place and that a large chunk of vacancies was a consequence of candidates not taking up non-clinical seats.
Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh, appearing for the Centre and the MCC, said that seats remaining vacant was a “structural issue” as many candidates who opt for non-clinical, para-medical or teaching seats end up not taking admission. There are also some seats remaining in private medical colleges where fees are very high, he said.
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