After being denied admission into the course of her choice, the Supreme Court today ordered that depriving the student of the opportunity to opt for the available NRI seat was unjustified, and ordered CMC Ludhiana to pay the student Rs. 5 lacs as compensation.
The petition before the apex Court was filed by a student who wanted to shift her PG course from M.D. Pathology to M.D. General Medicine in the available vacant seat under the N.R.I. quota within the College. However, the same was not allowed by the College.
The Petitioner contended before the Court that "overall conduct of the second Respondent disclosed that there was a calculated and deliberate attempt to deprive the Petitioner of exercising her valuable right to opt for a course which she really wanted to undergo, namely, M.D. General Medicine, that the said course was very much available and she was fully eligible as the thirteenth rank holder and there was no other rival candidate either under the N.R.I. category or under the sponsored 'A' category."
While, the Christian Medial College took the stand that "there was no possibility of the available M.D. General Medicine course of N.R.I. category being shifted to category 'A' in order to enable the Petitioner to exercise her option even on the third counselling date, as by the time such a decision was taken, it was already 8 p.m. and the second Respondent was, therefore, disabled from allowing the Petitioner to exercise her option."
The Bench headed by Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla then went through the prospectus of the institution. The Court was also made aware about another ongoing litigation, dealing with the issue.
However, the Court in its judgment stated, "Even according to the second Respondent, any N.R.I. seat which fell vacant could be offered only to the N.R.I. candidate in the first instance and only thereafter it could be shifted to category 'A'. It is alsothe case of the second Respondent that in W.P. (C) No.433 of 2013 this Court after hearing arguments on 30.07.2013 posted it for orderson 01.08.2013 and to the utter dismay of the second Respondent, the permission granted by this Court for holding fourth counselling was restricted only to the government colleges and not to the private institutions for filling up of the vacant seats. As far as the second statement isconcerned, it must be stated at the very outset that the said factor can have no relevance insofar as it related to depriving of the petitioner to opt for her chance in the third counselling. The second Respondent cannot be heard to state that it can anticipate any order from this Court providing for fourth counselling and based on such anticipation it could have suggested to anyone, much less, to the Petitioner that a claim on that basis for getting a seat in the vacant N.R.I. category could be opted inthe fourth counselling. In that respect, the stand of the second Respondent was wholly in violation of the mandatory directions of this Court as regards the time schedule fixed for different process relating to admission to the professional courses right from the date of initial notification calling for application and the closing of the admissions after third counselling. Therefore, any wishful thinking on the part of the second Respondent as regards the scope of getting a chance for fourth counselling to be granted bythis Court could not have, in any manner, persuaded the secondRespondent to deny an opportunity to the Petitioner to seek for an option for change of course from M.D. Pathology to M.D. General Medicine in respect of a seat which was lying vacant as early as on 30.07.2013 and whichcontinued to remain vacant right from the morning session of the date of third counselling, namely, 31.07.2013 till the end of that day, as well as, even as on this date."
The Court then went on to say, "When we come to the stand ofthe second Respondent that any vacant seat of N.R.I. category would be first offered only to the eligible N.R.I. candidates and thereafter itwould be offered to category 'A' candidates, it must be stated that going strictly by the provisions contained in the prospectus, we do not find any such provision for it."
Slamming the College for its actions, the Court said "we are convinced that there is much to be doubted as regards the conduct of the second Respondent in depriving the Petitioner to exercise her right for opting the available N.R.I.category seat, while in law, she had every right to seek for such anoption. Further, the conduct of the second Respondent in having made an application in this Court in I.A. No.3 of 2013 on 04.08.2013 for holding fourth counselling on 07.08.2013 which was rejected by this Court by an order dated 04.10.2013 also suggests that there was total lack of bona fide in the stand of the second Respondent."
After finding that the College was unjustified in not admitting the student, the Court came to the question of relief, it stated "as the admission schedule fixed by Medical Council ofIndia and this Court is being scrupulously followed, we do not find any extraordinary situation to violate the said schedule fixed byus. We have held in various decisions that the time schedule should be strictly adhered to and no mid-stream admission should be allowed. We are, therefore, not inclined to give such a direction as prayed for by the Petitioner."
The Court then finally said, "We feel it appropriate to fix it in a sum of Rs.5, 00,000/-(Rupees five lacs only). The second Respondent is, therefore, directed to pay the said sum of Rs.5, 00,000/- apart from refunding the sum of Rs.13, 000/- which the Petitioner had to pay for her readmission to the very same P.G. course of M.D. Pathology."