Meghalaya High Court: H. S. Thangkhiew, J. allowed a petition in which he had to consider whether this Court can direct the respondents to consider the petitioner for filling up the vacant seat for the MBBS Course.

The petitioner an aspirant for admission into the MBBS Course at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science (NEIGRIHMS), after qualifying in the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) Examination, had been invited for the second e-counselling for admission into MBBS Course for the Session 2021-2022. The petitioner was further informed that the counselling would be on a virtual platform to be held on 07-03-2022 to fill up 4(four) vacant seats.

She was aggrieved by the fact that the link details for joining the Video Conference which had been communicated by the respondents landed in her spam mail, and the petitioner was not aware that she had received the link for the e-counselling, as the same did not appear either on her registered email id or mobile number, and as such she could not be present on the date and time, when the said e-counselling was held.

On 09-03-2022, this Court had directed that the case be kept on hold to await the final acceptance of the seats, for which the candidates would have to comply by 11-03-2022. On 14-03-2022 when the matter was taken up again, the petitioner had filed an affidavit stating one candidate did not report as he had already secured admission at RIIMS Imphal, as such the fourth seat was still vacant.

Respondents had averred that the petitioner was absent on the date fixed for counselling the contention that the intimation had gone to her spam mail cannot be relied upon, and as per rule, the vacant seat should be given to the first candidate in the waiting list.

The Court was of the view that in this age of technology and in the prevalent COVID situation, a lot of such lapses have occurred especially when it concerns matters like these which involves communication through digital platforms. It is undisputed that the petitioner as per the merit list for the second counselling was placed at No. 4, and as such was assured of a seat for the MBBS Course, had she attended the counselling as scheduled, but however, due to the situation that had prevented her from appearing for the e-counselling, she is at risk of being deprived of a seat to pursue the MBBS Course.

The Court allowed the petition considering that in the normal circumstances, nothing would have prevented the writ petitioner from tendering her candidature for the said seat, the instant matter being peculiarly situated deserves consideration on a different footing. The Court directed the respondents to facilitate counselling for the petitioner via physical mode or otherwise within 1(one) week from today, with prior notice to the petitioner and decide accordingly on the merits of the petitioner.[Bisakha Geonka v. North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health & Medical Sciences, 2022 SCC OnLine Megh 58, decided on 15-03-2022]

For the Petitioner(s) : Mr H.L. Shangreiso, Sr. Adv. with Ms P. Biswakarma

For the Respondent(s) : Dr. N. Mozika, Sr. Adv. with Ms S. Rumthao

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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