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Medical College Managements Have Right To Fill Up Vacant Seats In Respective Courses De Hors Sponsorship By Selection Committee: Madras High Court

Upasana Sajeev
18 May 2022 6:03 AM GMT
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The Madras High Court recently upheld the right of the college management to fill up the vacant seats in the respective courses. Justice GR Swaminathan made the observation in a plea challenging the impugned orders of Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University against admissions made by the management of the colleges.

The writ petitioners are colleges imparting education in Indian Medicine and or Homeopathy. The candidates in Government Quota and Management Quota are sponsored by the Selection Committee. In the present case, there was a shortfall in sponsorship by the Selection Committee. After the second round of counseling and the mop-up counseling, vacancies arose in the institutions as the Selection Committee did not sponsor for the entire intake or some of the sponsored candidates did not join, resulting in vacancies.

The College Management informed the Selection Committee about these vacancies. Later, the management admitted candidates on their own so that the vacant seats would not go to waste. This act of the management was challenged by the authorities who stated that the college managements could not have admitted students on their own de hors the sponsorship by the Selection Committee.

The Special Government Pleader appearing for the respondents relied on Venkateshwara Medical College Hospital Vs. Medical Council of India (2020 SCC Online Mad 13796) where it was held that admissions can be made only through the process of counselling and that the college managements could not have admitted students and filled up the vacant seats on their own. The court, however, opined that the same would not apply to the present case.

The court relied on Index Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh and Others, where the Apex Court upheld the right of management to admit students. The court had observed that the seats remaining vacant would amount to a "national waste of resources". In that case the court had declared Rule 12 (8) (a) of the Madhya Pradesh Chikitsa Shiksha Pravesh Niyam, 2018 as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The court had observed as follows;

"On the other hand, seats in recognised medical colleges not being filled up is detrimental to public interest. We are constrained to observe that the policy of not permitting the managements from filling up all the seats does not have any nexus with the object sought to be achieved by Rule 12 (8) (a). The classification of seats remaining vacant due to non-joining may be based on intelligible differentia but it does not have any rational connection with the object sought to be achieved by Rule 12 (8) (a). Applying the test of proportionality, we are of the opinion that the restriction imposed by the Rule is unreasonable. Ergo, Rule 12 (8)(a) is violative of Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution."

Applying the above principle in the present case, the court held that the petitioners-college managements were well within their right to fill up the vacant seats in the respective courses. The court also directed the respondent university to publish the results of the petitioner students where they were allowed to write the examinations. The court also directed the respondents to permit the petitioner students to sit for the upcoming examinations and to release their hall tickets without any delay.

Case Title: Nandha Ayurveda Medical College and Hospital represented by Chairman v. The Director of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy and Others & other connected cases

Case No: W.P 693 of 2022 and other connected cases

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 215

Counsel for all Petitioner: Mr.Kandhan Duraisamy, Mr.K.Govindarajan, Mr.V.Selvaraj for Mr.D.Jayasingh, Mr.M.Sricharan Rangarajan, Mr.P.Godson Swaminath

Counsel for Respondents: Mr.D.Ravichander, Mr.S.Wilson

Click here to read/download the judgment

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