The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice in a petition preferred by NEET PG aspirants seeking to exit from the seats already joined pursuant to the 2nd round of counseling in the All India Quota of the counseling process without paying the huge amount of penalty.
The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha while issuing notice in the petition also tagged the same with another petition (Akepati Samhitha & Ors. V. The Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) & Ors.| Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s).280/2022) wherein the similar issue of imposition of heavy penalties in the vicinity of Rs 50-60 lakhs on the candidates who were although allotted a seat in round 2 but did not join the same was raised.
In the said case, the bench has asked the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to file a detailed affidavit.
In the hearing today, counsel for the doctors apprised the bench of the imposition of huge penalties by states on the candidates who were seeking to exit. She also urged the bench to allow the candidates who wish to give NEET PG 2022 exam without payment of the same.
"I don't have to participate in the further round but NEET PG 2022. But I haven't been able to because of the penalty which the states are imposing. State of Maharashtra is imposing a 50 lakhs penalty. I have no issue in forfeiture of my security deposit. I'll not be able to appear if I don't pay the penalty. The exam is tomorrow. I won't be able to exit," the counsel submitted.
Referring to the petition raising a similar issue wherein ASG Aishwarya Bhati had submitted that even the states need to be heard in this regards, the bench said, "You're right the penalties are very heavy. Ms Bhati has said that the states need to be heard."
However while refusing to grant any interim relief, the bench further added, "We'll issue notice and tag. We're not granting any interim relief. If you're eligible to appear on other grounds, but we will not pass any interim order."
It was argued in the petition that imposition of such penalty on a student who seeks an immediate exit from a seat joined, without actually and factually working thereunder, or those who have recently joined, is arbitrary and in violation of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
"Respondent States levy such huge and hefty penalties under a fallacious pretext that if a candidate is permitted to exit or leave a seat after joining the same goes waste and therefore the aforesaid hefty penalty is levied. However, it is submitted that such seats can always be put up in the stray round and / or any special round of counseling and / or in the subsequent NEET – PG counseling," the petition stated.
The plea further stated that if the states do not impose penalties, the said Seat would not go waste as the same can be put up in the stray round and / or any special round of counseling and / or in the subsequent NEET – PG counseling.
Against this backdrop it was further argued that, "The said seat can always be put up in the next rounds i.e NEET PG 2022 – 2023, and or the subsequent exam proposed to be conducted in the month of May 2022. Imposing of huge, hefty penalties are arbitrary and harsh on the students who desire to avail the best seats for advancing their medical career and serve the nation and humankind."
Petitioners in the plea have further sought for directing the candidates who desire to resign and or vacate the seat joined pursuant to the 2nd round of counseling be permitted to exit without having to pay any penalty and allocating the vacant seats to the stray round and / or any special round of counseling and / or in the subsequent NEET – PG counseling.
Case Title: Dr. Patil Akshay Pandharinath & Ors. V. The Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) & Ors.| Writ Petition (Civil) No. 329 Of 2022