Merit Can’t Be Defeated On Tech Grounds, Says Delhi HC [Read Judgment]
Aspiring medico gets to register for deemed varsities as HC asks Centre to open up its portal
Holding merit over technical grounds, the Delhi High Court has opened up a closed opportunity for an aspiring medico to register for the second round of counselling for deemed universities after the due date.
Justice Siddharth Mridul directed the Centre to open up its online registration facility for the petitioner named Jasmeen Kaur, who had secured all-India 24,392nd rank in NEET UG 2018 examination but could not register for second round of counselling for admission to deemed universities since at the time of online registration, she had marked her options as ‘All-India Quota’ seats as well as central university quota seats.
The order of the court came on Tuesday i.e., July 10, just a day before the second round of counselling was to close.
Following the order, the Centre opened its portal and Jasmeen has now registered herself for the second counselling for deemed universities.
Jasmeen had participated in the first round of counselling but could not be granted admission on account of her all-India merit.
The second round of counseling for central and deemed universities began on July 10 and July 11 was the last day of counselling.
Jasmeen’s counsel Rahul Kripalani told the court that due to the options exercised by her at the time of registration, she has now been precluded from registering afresh for the second round of counselling for deemed universities and stands to suffer the loss of a precious opportunity having already dropped one year for preparation for NEET.
It is to be noted that the portal permitting the candidate to register for the second round of counselling closed on July 8.
The Centre informed the court that during the process of online registration, candidates are permitted one opportunity to reset their choices and since the petitioner has utilised that opportunity, she cannot be permitted to register for the second round of counselling for deemed universities.
After hearing both sides, Justice Mridul said, “It is a settled legal position that construction of rules or procedure which promotes justice and prevents miscarriage has to be preferred. The rules and procedure is the handmaid of justice and not its mistress.”
“In view of the foregoing, it is trite to state that merit cannot be defeated on technical grounds. It is an admitted position that considering the All India rank secured by the petitioner she may be entitled to participate successfully in the second round of counselling for admission to a medical course conducted by deemed universities.
“…the only course that commends itself in the interest of justice is to direct respondent no. 1 to permit the petitioner to register afresh for the deemed universities category in the second round of counselling in accordance with law,” he said.
Justice Mridul expressly stated that his decision was in light of special facts and circumstances of the case and “in view of the legal position there is no bar for a meritorious student to be considered for admission to a medical course by all institutions who conduct such courses”.
In the petition, advocate Kripalani said Jasmeen had secured Rank 24,392, which puts her in the 98.07 percentile of candidates.
“She then registered to participate in the first round of counselling and at that time opted for admission into ‘15% All India Quota of Government Colleges’ and ‘Central Universities’. It was understood that subsequently, the petitioner would be allowed to opt for ‘deemed universities’, if she did not secure a seat in the first round, as the website of the Medical Council Committee clearly stated that fresh registration was permissible at the time of second round of counselling.
“Having not secured any seat in the first counselling (since she had not picked ‘deemed universities’ as an option at the time of enrolling for the first round), the Petitioner sought to opt for Deemed Universities at the time of second round of counselling but was not being permitted to do so. She was not even being allowed to register afresh for Deemed Universities and make payment for the same. However, the information provided on the website of the Medical Counselling Committee, clearly stated otherwise. The last date for making payment and selection of colleges in the second round of counselling was Monday, 09.07.2018,” he said.
He also informed that persons with a rank as low as 3,89,971 had obtained admission to MBBS in deemed universities in the first round of counselling. There were around 3,100 seats remaining in the second round of counselling and the petitioner would be able to secure admission into an MBBS course of her choice if she is allowed the promised option of fresh registration.
Read the Judgment Here