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MBBS Course: Admission Can Be Directed To Be Given To Meritorious Candidate Even After Cut Off Date In Exceptional Cases: SC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
15 Dec 2019 7:24 AM GMT
MBBS Course: Admission Can Be Directed To Be Given To Meritorious Candidate Even After Cut Off Date In Exceptional Cases: SC [Read Judgment]

"Compensation could be an additional remedy but not a substitute for restitutionary remedies."

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The Supreme Court has observed that, in exceptional cases, a direction can be issued to grant admission to meritorious candidates to MBBS Course even after cut-off date. 

The bench of Justices Arun Mishra, MR Shah and BR Gavai was answering a reference made to it by a two judge bench which noticed conflicting views in two judgments in this regard. In the case of Asha vs. Pt. B.D. Sharma, it was held that in rarest of rare cases, when the Court returns the finding that (i) no fault is attributable to the candidate; (ii) the candidate has pursued her rights and legal remedies expeditiously and without delay; (iii) where there is fault on the part of the authorities and apparent breach of rules and regulations, an exception may be made to 30th September cut-off date and in an exceptional case the Court can direct for admission even in a case where cut-off date as directed by the Court had expired. But in Chandigarh Admn. Vs. Jasmine Kaur, contrary view was taken observing that in such a situation grant of compensation is the only relief which can be granted and which a candidate is entitled to.

In S. Krishna Sradha vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, the bench observed that denial of admission in medical course to a meritorious candidate for no fault of his/her and though he/she has approached the Court in time and despite the same not granting any just and equitable relief would be denial of justice. Disapproving the view taken in Jasmine Kaur, the bench observed:

"The right to equal and fair treatment is a component of Article 14 of the Constitution. As held by this Court Asha (Supra) that a transparent and fair procedure is the duty of every legal authority connected with admissions. In such cases, denial of fair treatment to the candidate would not only violate his/her right under Article 14 but would seriously jeopardize his/her right under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. A natural corollary of declaring that an administrative act more particularly the denial of admission illegally and for no fault of a candidate/student violates principles of Article 14 is that the citizen injured must be put back to his/her original position. In that sense, the primary relief is restitutionary. As observed hereinabove, for a meritorious student seeking admission in medical course is very important in the life of student/candidate and denial of admission to a meritorious candidate though no fault of his/her violates his/her fundamental rights. Compensation could be an additional remedy but not a substitute for restitutionary remedies. In case of medical admissions, even the restitutionary remedy of providing a seat in the subsequent year would lead to loss of one full academic year to a meritorious candidate, which cannot be compensated in real terms. Thus compensation for loss of year could be provided, but denial of admissions to a meritorious candidate cannot be compensated in monetary terms. Thus denial of admission in medical course to a meritorious candidate for no fault of his/her and though he/she has approached the Court in time and despite the same not granting any just and equitable relief would be denial of justice. Therefore, the question is what relief the Court can grant by which right to equal and fair treatment to a candidate are protected and at the same time neither there is injustice to other candidate/student and even compromising with the quality education. Therefore, a balance is required to be struck. However, at the same time it can safely be said that the view taken by this Court in Jasmine Kaur (Supra) that the only relief which can be granted to such a candidate would be the compensation only is not good law and cannot be accepted. Even granting a relief to such a candidate/student in the next academic year and to accommodate him/her in the next year and in the sanctioned intake may even affect the right of some other candidate/student seeking admission in the next academic year and that too for no fault of his/her. Therefore we are of the view that in the exceptional and in the rarest of rare cases and in case where all the conditions stipulated in paragraph 33.3 in the case of Jasmine Kaur (Supra) are satisfied, the Court can grant exceptional relief to the candidate of granting admission even after the cut off date is over"

It answered the reference as follows:

  • That in a case where candidate/student has approached the court at the earliest and without any delay and that the question is with respect to the admission in medical course all the efforts shall be made by the concerned court to dispose of the proceedings by giving priority and at the earliest
  • Under exceptional circumstances, if the court finds that there is no fault attributable to the candidate and the candidate has pursued his/her legal right expeditiously without any delay and there is fault only on the part of the authorities and/or there is apparent breach of rules and regulations as well as related principles in the process of grant of admission which would violate the right of equality and equal treatment to the competing candidates and if the time schedule prescribed – 30th September, is over, to do the complete justice, the Court under exceptional circumstances and in rarest of rare cases direct the admission in the same year by directing to increase the seats, however, it should not be more than one or two seats and such admissions can be ordered within reasonable time, i.e., within one month from 30th September, i.e., cut off date and under no circumstances, the Court shall order any Admission in the same year beyond 30th October. However, it is observed that such relief can be granted only in exceptional circumstances and in the rarest of rare cases. In case of such an eventuality, the Court may also pass an order cancelling the admission given to a candidate who is at the bottom of the merit list of the category who, if the admission would have been given to a more meritorious candidate who has been denied admission illegally, would not have got the admission, if the Court deems it fit and proper, however, after giving an opportunity of hearing to a student whose admission is sought to be cancelled.
  • In case the Court is of the opinion that no relief of admission can be granted to such a candidate in the very academic year and wherever it finds that the action of the authorities has been arbitrary and in breach of the rules and regulations or the prospectus affecting the rights of the students and that a candidate is found to be meritorious and such candidate/student has approached the court at the earliest and without any delay, the court can mould the relief and direct the admission to be granted to such a candidate in the next academic year by issuing appropriate directions by directing to increase in the number of seats as may be considered appropriate in the case and in case of such an eventuality and if it is found that the management was at fault and wrongly denied the admission to the meritorious candidate, in that case, the Court may direct to reduce the number of seats in the management quota of that year, meaning thereby the student/students who was/were denied admission illegally to be accommodated in the next academic year out of the seats allotted in the management quota.
  • Grant of the compensation could be an additional remedy but not a substitute for restitutional remedies. Therefore, in an appropriate case the Court may award the compensation to such a meritorious candidate who for no fault of his/her has to lose one full academic year and who could not be granted any relief of admission in the same academic year.
  • It is clarified that the aforesaid directions pertain for Admission in MBBS Course only and we have not dealt with Post Graduate Medical Course. 


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