Chandigarh: For denying MBBS/BDS admission to a medical aspirant due to the institute’s “arbitrary” counselling process, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered the Rohtak-based Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma University of Health Sciences to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation to the student. The court also directed that the student by provided admissions next year, as it did not want to hurt the current admission process that is already over.
The HC observed that the Medical University had arbitrarily closed the allocation/counselling process at a specific time. In view of the aforesaid, the bench directed the institute to pay compensation to the petitioner medical aspirant, Sushma Kumari, who had been denied admission to the MBBS/BDS course for the session 2018-19.
The case of the medical aspirant, who belongs to a dependent of Ex-Serviceman (ESM) category, was that even though she had successfully competed in the NEET examination and obtained all India rank of 95850, she was denied UG admission (MBBS/BDS) by the Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma University of Health Sciences.
The medical student falls in Priority-IV- Wards of disabled in service and boarded out with disability attributable to military service. She submitted that less meritorious candidates have been granted admission instead of her.
Mop up round counselling was held on 3.9.2018. According to the medical student, she was present on the date of counselling and was informed that only those candidates whose net score is 400 and above would be considered in the said category, although when final list was declared, the candidates much lower in merits find mention in the final list.
The petitioner’s NEET score was 377, whereas, one two other students, whose NEET score was 241 and 153, got admission in Priority-IV. No satisfactory reason was given by the respondents except that she was not present on the date in question, the medical students had submitted her grievance to the court.
The medical university stated in its reply that all the seats were filled up by 2.35 pm, to which petitioner contended that time is not indicated against each and every candidate. It is admitted by the university that time was indicated against the candidates, who have been admitted and not all the candidates who were present and considered.
To this the bench of the Justices Mahesh Grover and Lalit Batra observed,
“Be that as it may, it is disturbing that the respondents have not been fair in conducting the process. They prescribed the date of mop-up round of counselling but no time schedule was prescribed to indicate within what period the process would commence and conclude. It is not their case that admissions would be made on first come first serve basis. Then how could they conclude that all seats have been filled up by 2.35 p.m.”
“Possibly, some candidates coming from faraway places may have reached later than 2.30 p.m. It would not be justified to deny admission to such a candidate. The logical course should have been to wait till the time when whole process be declared closed and that they could have done by prescribing the time schedule, for the process.”
Observing the aforementioned, the HC held that the authorities of the medical university have arbitrarily closed the admission at 2.35 p.m.
“They have raised a question that the petitioner was not present to cover up the mischief of giving admission to less meritorious candidates than the petitioner. The respondents have been unable to justify why the admissions for this category were closed at noon time and why they could not wait till evening particularly when the process continued till beyond 8 p.m. for this category as disclosed to us in Court. We thus hold the action of respondents to be wholly arbitrary.”
TOI reports that earlier on November 11, the bench had observed, “Prima facie, we are of the opinion that there has been a complete bungling in the admission to the ESM category.” It had also summoned the university registrar.
The HC further took cognizance on a recent Honourable Supreme Court verdict where the apex law authority had held the last date of admission as sacrosanct not to be violated by the Court by passing orders even though there is gross arbitrariness.
Relying on an earlier SC dictum in Chandigarh Administration case, the HC bench, with already being held the action of the Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma University of Health Sciences, as arbitrary, and determined the compensation of Rs 1 lakh be paid to the petitioner by the University.
While disposing of the case, the bench observed that at this juncture it cannot disturb the entire merit list, which may be prejudicial to a large number of candidates. It further directed the university to admit the medical aspirant for the next academic year in the ESM quota.
“The petitioner be considered for admission for the next year in case law permits. The writ petition stands disposed of.”
Attached is the detailed judgment below:-