Denied MBBS admission at AIIMS Raipur, Aspirant gets High Court relief
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court, in its recent verdict, has granted major relief to an MBBS candidate, who was denied a seat by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) citing that the certificate evidencing that she fell in the OBC category falls outside the timeframe that is stipulated in the AIIMS MBBS 2019 Prospectus.
Admitting her plea, the court granted her an MBBS seat at AIIMS Raipur for this academic session.
The case concerns an MBBS student, who went for counselling sessions conducted by AIIMS Raipur in order to get a seat at the institute. The grievance of the medico was that she was denied a seat by the AIIMS even though she was eligible for being considered for allotment of a seat in the MBBS Program in the OBC (non-creamy layer) category.
The refusal of AIIMS was specifically based on Clause 4.1 of the Prospectus. The relevant part of the clause is mentioned as under:
"A format is provided at the end of the Prospectus. Certificate to be produced during counselling should NOT be older than ONE Year on date of First Counseling."
This clause implies that the certificate produced by a candidate to claim the benefit of the fact that he/she belongs to the OBC category can only arise if it is issued within a period of one year preceding the date of first counselling.
AIIMS had invited applications for AIIMS MBBS 2019 entrance exam in February this year. Accordingly, the candidate applied and was issued an admit card. In her exam, the petitioner obtained 98.8 percentile score. Her overall rank was 3813 while her rank in the OBC category was 1058. The petitioner failed to secure a seat for herself in the first, second and third rounds of counseling.
Thereafter, the petitioner secured for her an OBC certificate dated 19.08.2019 for admittance in Central Institutions and appeared for open counseling on 26.08.2019, she placed before the Counseling Committee, the requisite documents which included the OBC certificate. However, the Counseling Committee declined to consider her candidature only on the ground that the date on the OBC certificate issued to the petitioner did not fall within the timeframe stipulated in the Clause.
Aggrieved with the said decision, the student approached the HC. After recordings, the Court directed AIIMS to keep one OBC category seat vacant in one of the four institutes qua which preference had been given by the petitioner.
During the hearing of the petition, the counsel for the MBBS student argued that the Prospectus had made two provisions concerning the submission of the OBC certificate. One, in Clause 3 on page IV of the Prospectus under the heading 'Registration and Submission of Application Form', and the other provision, in Clause 4.1 under the heading of 'Criteria for Other Backward Classes (Non-Creamy Layer) [OBC]'.
Clause 3 states:
"The OBC-NCL certificate must be valid for admission for Central Government institutions. The date of validity of certificate shall be one day prior to the date of 1st counseling/seat allocation."
It was submitted that if one were to take into account Clause 3 of the Prospectus, an OBC certificate would be valid for admission to Central Government institutions, if it bore a date which was one day prior to the date of first counseling or seat allocation.
It was pointed out to the bench that in the open counselling which was, admittedly, held on 26.08.2019, the petitioner was to be allocated a seat but for the fact that she did not have an OBC certificate that fell within the timeframe in contemplation of AIIMS i.e. 26.06.2019 and 25.06.2019, she was not allotted the same. Therefore, in terms of provisions of Clause 3 of the Prospectus, the Counselling Committee should have considered her candidature for allotment of a seat as the OBC certificate issued to her was dated 19.08.2019.
The petitioner's candidature could still not have been ousted by AIIMS as the said Clause required production of an OBC certificate which should "NOT be older than ONE Year on date of First Counselling.". 5.7 In other words, a candidate could have been ousted only if his/her OBC certificate was older than 25.06.2018 given the fact that the first counseling was held on 26.06.2019, the counsel explained.
On the other hand, the counsel on behalf of AIIMS sought to portray that the petitioner has committed a "fraud" by continuing to participate in counselling in the first three rounds when she was aware of the fact that she did not have in her possession a valid OBC certificate.
After noting all the submissions and contentions by both the parties , the Delhi High Court bench observed:
…even according to AIIMS the petitioner met all parameters for grant of admission under the OBC quota except one, which is not having in her possession, an OBC certificate that fell within the two ends of the timeframe i.e. 26.06.2019 and 25.06.2018. 8.1 That being said, Clause 3 of the prospectus provided a different timeframe. Thus, a candidate could produce an OBC certificate, which was one day prior to the date of the first round of counselling or the seat allocation.
The bench pointed to the dissonance between Clause 3 and Clause 4.1 of the Prospectus.
While Clause 3 of the Prospectus permitted the petitioner to produce an OBC certificate which bore a date one day prior to the first round of counseling or seat allocation, Clause 4.1 restricted the period to one year preceding the date of first counselling.
Therefore, on a harmonious reading of Clause 3 and Clause 4.1, one would have to conclude that as long as a candidate can produce an OBC certificate which is one day prior to the seat allocation, the candidate should be able to get a seat allocated for the OBC category.
In its conclusion, the HC bench held:
AIIMS has not found fault with the certificate. Thus, quite clearly, in my view, the petitioner's candidature for OBC seat ought to have been accepted by the Counselling Committee.
Accordingly, the bench allotted her an MBBS seat in AIIMS Raipur as the institutes qua which the petitioner gave her preference, do not have, according to AIIMS, a seat available in the OBC category.