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Breaking | NEET-PG 2021 Admissions After 1.5 Yrs May Compromise Medical Education, Public Health: Supreme Court Reserves Verdict In Plea For Special Stray Counselling

Shruti Kakkar
9 Jun 2022 7:49 AM GMT
NEET PG 2021: Counselling For 2 Academic Sessions Cannot Run Concurrently: MCC Informs Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on the plea seeking a Special Stray Round of counselling for NEET-PG 2021, to allow the candidates to participate for vacant seats available after the conduct of a stray vacant round of AIQ.

A Bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose said it will consider the submissions made by both sides and will pass a detailed order tomorrow.

The Court was hearing a plea seeking a Special Stray Round of counselling to allow the candidates to participate for vacant seats available after the conduct of a stray vacant round of All India Quota. The petition was preferred by the doctors who appeared in NEET-PG 2021 and participated in rounds 1 and 2 of All India Quota (AIQ) Counselling and State Quota Counselling which was followed by All India Mop-Up and State Mop-Up Rounds.

On Wednesday the Top Court had come down heavily upon the Medical Counselling Committee on, stating that leaving 1456 seats in NEET-PG vacant not only puts aspirants into difficulty but also leads to dearth of qualified doctors. It had permitted the authority to file its affidavit during the course of the day explaining the position of the vacant seats & why they were not filled in.

In the affidavit submitted before the Top Court, MCC had informed that the software which was being used for conducting NEET-PG 2021 online counselling was now closed and hence, it could not possibly fill 1,456 vacant seats by conducting a Special Stray Round of counselling. It further submitted that the counselling process for two academic sessions, i.e. 2021 and 2022, could not run concurrently.

Today, the Centre submitted that the vacant seats are mostly non-clinical, i.e. they don't produce doctors but teachers, and hence, students don't usually opt for these seats. ASG Balbir Singh submitted that this is an annual phenomena, seats in these areas are the ones where none applies. In 2021, out of the said 1,456 vacant seats, 800/900 seats were opted for but the students did not take admission. As result of this, the seats again became vacant.
"Out of the allotted 1,177 today, the number which has gone to 1,400 something, they have not taken the admission. That's why the numbers have come to 1,456 vacant seats...Around 1100 are in private colleges and they are far expensive. No one wants to participate in the seats which are in private colleges and they are in non-clinical seats," he said.

Supporting this submission, Advocate Gaurav Sharma for National Medical Council informed the Court that that counseling for NEET-PG 2021 was closed after 9 rounds of counselling. "4 rounds of State counselling, 4 rounds of AIQ counselling and another round was conducted for AIQ round. After 9 counselling the situation has come. This problem comes every year and this situation was considered in 2019 also in Educational Promotion Society v. Union of India," he submitted.

The ASG continued that classes for those who qualified NEET-PG 2021 have already started in February and in case seats are now filled up, it'll have a detrimental effect as they would be lagging by 6-8 months. "The teaching will be compromised since they will also have to teach the students who will come in NEET PG 2022. The entire process will have to be underdone again. Security deposit etc.," he added.

At this juncture, Senior Advocate Rachna Srivastava appearing for the Petitioner-doctors pointed that the counselling was stopped abruptly on May 7 and as per the RTI reply large number of seats which pertain to a branch of surgery, anaesthesia, and ophthalmology are available.

However, the Bench observed that there must be a limit to the entire process and if the seats remain vacant even after 8 or 9 rounds of counselling, then students cannot claim rights after 1.5 years.

"Special stray rounds, special special stray rounds- there must be a limit. Since many years, the seats have remained vacant & its not for the very first time. The court has considered in many cases...There must be a limit to the entire process. After 8 or 9 rounds also the seats are vacant but can it be said now that after 1.5 years, you will be given admission & compromise the health of people," Justice Shah remarked orally.
The Judge added, "There cannot be any compromise with education. On that we're very sure. Suppose you're hungry for 6 months, can you eat everything in 1 day? NO. Education is like that. Its a 3 year course."
The petitioners were represented through Dubey Law Chambers and the petition has been filed through AOR Milind Kumar.

Case Title: Astha Goel v MCC

(Compiled and Edited by Akshita Saxena)

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