A Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Chelameswar and Justice A.K. Sikri directed the Maharashtra Government to pay Rs. 20 lakhs as compensation to each student who was denied admissions in medical colleges for academic year 2012-13, despite scoring sufficiently high in the common entrance test.
The Bench observed, “It is an unfortunate situation where directions given by this Court (Constitution Bench) with a view to ensure compliance with the mandates of the Constitution in the matter of admissions to various courses run by unaided private educational institutions is allowed to remain only a paper declaration. The directions of this Court mandating the constitution of the committee to monitor the whole process to ensure that these educational institutions do not flout the constitution mandate and the legal obligations are not adhered to.”
Taking a serious note of the incident, the Court also directed the State to indentify the officers who are responsible for the inaction on the report of the Monitoring Committee and take appropriate action against those officers including the recovery of the amount to be paid pursuant to this order, by the State, from those officers.
The Special Leave Petitions arose out of judgments of the Bombay High Court. The petitioners were the students who appeared for the entrance examination conducted by the Association of Management of Unaided Medical and Dental colleges, Maharashtra.
The entrance exam is conducted for securing admission into various courses such as MBBS, BDS, etc. Common entrance exam was hence conducted.
The petitioners however couldn’t secure admission in a course or college of their choice. They then alleged that the State of Maharashtra gave admissions without following the merit as indicated in the Common Entrance Examination.
The State then appointed three Committees to inquire into various aspects of the complaints received by State of Maharashtra. Apart from that, another Committee called 'Pravesh Niyantran Samiti' headed by the former Judge of the Bombay High Court which owes its existence to the directions given by the apex Court in the case of Islamic Academy of Education and another Vs. State of Karnataka and Others, 2003(6) SCC 697, also independently monitored the admission process for the Academic Year 2012-2013 into the various private educational institutions which are members of the Association and submitted a report dated 11th January, 2013.
The report confirmed that the “admission process was not fair, transparent & merit based” and that the reservation rules were not followed. The Samiti therefore disapproved all the admissions done after the last “Common Admission Process” (CAP) round of MHT-CET-2012 for the Academic Year 2012-13. The government did not act on the report and their petitions were dismissed by the Bombay High Court.
Two alternative reliefs were sought by the petitioners: Cancellation of the admissions granted by respondent Colleges and grant admission to the petitioners to the respective medical colleges or in the alternative cancel the admissions only of those candidates who are less meritorious than the petitioners but were admitted by various colleges who are members of the Association and consequently direct the petitioners be admitted.
The Bench couldn’t grant these remedies in view of the long lapse of time. However, compensation in the form of public law damages was granted.
Read the order here.