Maharashtra: HC relief to scholarship applicant for MBBS admissions
The Entrance Test Cell on its part at the time of disallowing permission to exercise options had clarified that choices, once locked, couldn’t be changed or modified.
Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, on Monday, granted permission to a state student to revise her options for admission to an MBBS course under the increased income limit being offered by the ‘Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Tuition Fee Scholarship Scheme’ from the earlier Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8 lakh.
The court was responding to a writ filed by Petitioner Yashika Sharma who was denied the opportunity to apply for a tuition waiver under the new scheme by the entrance test cell which cited clause 12 of NEET UG, 2018 disallowing edit opportunity.
Petitioner Yashika Sharma a 94.8 percentile NEET scorer, coming from a middle-class background had applied in the government and aided medical colleges due to financial constraints.
She was unable to apply under the Maharashtra government’s scholarship scheme launched on May 3 as her family earnings, annually, levelled at Rs7.50 lakh, as against the required Rs. 6 lakh at the time of applying. On June 28 when the income band was hiked to Rs 8 lakh, it made her enter the eligibility zone
She applied for revision of options as the raise would now give her access to the 50% fee waiver from the government.
The Entrance Test Cell on its part at the time of disallowing permission to exercise options had clarified that choices, once locked, couldn’t be changed or modified and the admission process had to be operated from the first round to last, all at a go.
It was this denial that made her seek judicial help through counsels Bhanudas Kulkarni and Mugdha Chandurkar, who then contended that merit and broadening of the scholarship band now gave her the opportunity to apply for a seat in private colleges. They argued that denial at this stage would mean a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
Medical Education and Drugs Department, Secretary, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Common Entrance Test Cell, Chairman, NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences, Dean and Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Smruti Medical College Dean were respondents in the case (WP No 5210/2018)
Test cell Counsel, Nahush Khubalkar presented an opposing point of view stating that an option to correct or edit choice had been provided to students at an earlier point in time reported TOI.
The division bench constituted of Justices Zaka Haq and Bhushan Dharmadhikari said that the granting of permission was only facilitating the student in the evaluating her claim in accordance with her merit and options available to her in the mop-up round.
“The petitioner is not seeking to dislodge anybody. The limited prayer is to allow her to revise options based on increased income limit of the scheme. By allowing her demand, the object with which income ceiling has been enhanced by respondents, will be furthered and admission process is undertaken by State Common Entrance Test Cell also does not receive any setback,” the judges observed.
“The oral arguments advanced by respondents show that they are aware of change effected during the admission process in norms of eligibility,” the HC said at the time of plea disposal.