Supreme Court: After some NEET-PG 2021 candidates, who could not get admission despite participating all the rounds of counsellings, sought for Special Stray Round of counselling with respect to the unfilled 1456 seats, the bench of MR Shah* and Anirudhha Bose, JJ has refused the request after observing that,
“The process of admission and that too in the medical education cannot be endless. It must end at a particular point of time. The time schedule has to be adhered to, otherwise, ultimately, it may affect the medical education and the public health.”
The NEET-PG 2021 examination was conducted on 11.09.2021. The result was declared on 28.09.2021. As per the earlier counselling scheme, there were two rounds of counselling for All India Seats as well as State Quotas seats respectively. However, as per the modified counselling scheme, counselling is to be carried in four rounds and no seats were to be reverted to States. It is important to note that at the end of the four rounds of counselling, each for All India Quota and State Quotas (in all eight rounds of counselling) and thereafter one another round of counselling was conducted, out of 40,000 seats, 1456 seats have remained vacant, out of which approximately, more than 1100 seats are non-clinical seats, which every year remain vacant.
The Supreme Court observed that,
“… when the Medical Counselling Committee and the Union of India have to adhere to the time schedule for completing the admission process and when the current admission of NEET-PG-2021 is already behind time schedule and ever after conducting eight to nine rounds of counselling, still some seats, which are mainly non-clinical courses seats have remained vacant and thereafter when a conscious decision is taken by the Union Government/the Medical Counselling Committee, not to conduct a further Special Stray Round of counselling, it cannot be said that the same is arbitrary.”
The Court also took note of the fact that after closure of the last round of counselling on 07.05.2022, the entire software mechanism has been closed and the security deposit is refunded to the eligible candidates. The admission process for NEET-PG-2022 has already begun, the results for the NEET-PG-2022 has been announced on 01.06.2022 and as per the time schedule, the counselling process is going to start in July, 2022.
Noticing that if one additional Special Stray Round of counselling is conducted now, as prayed, in that case, it may affect the admission process for NEET-PG-2022, the bench held,
“The decision of the Union Government and the Medical Counselling Committee not to have Special Stray Round of counselling is in the interest of Medical Education and Public Health. There cannot be any compromise with the merits and/or quality of Medical Education, which may ultimately affect the Public Health.”
[Dr. Astha Goel v. Medical Counselling Committee, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 734, decided on 10.06.2022]
*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah
For Petitioners: Senior Advocates Rachna Shrivastava and A.D.N. Rao, Advocates Avijit Mani Tripathi and Kunal Cheema
For UOI: ASG Balbir Singh,
For Medical Counselling Committee and National Board of Examinations: Advocate Gaurav Sharma