In a huge relief to a 22-year-old medical student, the Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside an order of the Director of Medical Education and Research which cancelled the admission secured on merits in open category and permanently barred him from pursuing any health science course in Maharashtra.
The reasoning behind this order was that the petitioner's admission had already been cancelled earlier on account of submission of fraudulent documents.
Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice Bharti Dangre passed the judgment on September 29 stating that the authority concerned had not applied his mind in taking such a harsh step.
Bipin Blowda, the petitioner, submitted a Scheduled Tribe caste validity certificate in the academic year 2012-13. He secured admission to the MBBS course.
Thereafter, on account of submitting a false caste certificate, the petitioner’s admission was cancelled and action was initiated against him under Rule 10 and 11 of the Maharashtra Schedule (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of Caste Certificate Act, 2001).
The criminal offence was registered against the petitioner under sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 of IPC on the basis of a report lodged by GS Medical College, Parel, where he had secured admission.
The petitioner was informed that due to his actions, one seat of MBBS was wasted and it was too late to fill the seat meaning that one meritorious candidate belonging to ST category suffered a loss. Therefore, the petitioner was fined Rs. 10 lakh.
After this, the petitioner appeared in the NEET examination 2017 and secured 96.8 percentile which made him eligible for admission in the open category.
He secured admission in Dean, Dr. Ulhas Patil Medical College & Hospital, but the admission was cancelled by DMER and the petitioner was barred from pursuing any health science course in the state.
Submissions and Judgment
Senior counsel Mihir Desai appeared for the petitioner. He submitted that as per court orders, his client had deposited the fine amount already and also paid the remaining tuition fees of the earlier college.
Desai argued that the entire past of the petitioner was wiped out on cancellation of the said admission which was alleged to have been secured on fraudulent basis and he has also paid penalty of Rs. 10 lakh for the seat being wasted and as per the Rules of Directorate of Medical Education and he was allotted a MBBS seat on his merit in NEET 2017 as open category candidate.
After analysing the language in these NEET Rules, the court said: “We do not find any clause for permanent debarment of candidate on account of cancellation of his admission for any reason whatsoever. We enquired about existence of any such Rule from learned AGP but she conceded that there is no such rule which prohibits/permanently debar a candidate from seeking admission. However, contrary to the communication which create a permanent embargo on the petitioner for all times to seek admission in MBBS course, Rule 10.10.1 disentitles a candidate for admission to MBBS course for the next two years under the State quota if he was allotted a seat in the previous year(s) and he had vacated it after availing the seat which has resulted into lapsing of the said Seat and clause No.14 makes a provision for penalty of Rs.10 lacs for lapse of such MBBS/BDS seat.”
Thus, the scheme of the Rule does not create any permanent embargo on the student from securing MBBS admission and rather permits admission to be sought after two years and there is also provision for compensating loss of seat by penalty of Rs. 10 lakh, which was done already.
The court said that there was complete “non-application of mind” on part of the DMER in permanently debarring the petitioner from seeking a seat in medical courses.
The decision of the court in the case of Ms Maithilee Tukaram Kadam vs The State of Maharashtra & Ors was also referred to, wherein it was held that denying admission on the basis of past conduct is arbitrary and unreasonable, as it deprives student of right to higher education and right to progress.
Thus, the order by DMER was quashed and set aside and the admission granted to the petitioner at Terna College, Navi Mumbai, was confirmed.