Published: 29th March 2022
NEET-PG counselling: SC seeks DGHS reply on pleas for participation in mop-up round
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant asked the Additional Solicitor to file a detailed reply on two sets of petitions filed by the doctors
The Supreme Court, on Monday, March 28, asked the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to respond to a batch of petitions filed by a group of doctors seeking to participate in the mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for DGHS, to file a detailed reply on two sets of petitions filed by the doctors.
The Bench told the counsel for the petitioners, “Granting a stay on the process of counselling will be a very extreme step. We are dealing with medical students. If we cancel the seats, then we will have to cancel all the admissions, which would further delay the whole process. You all should come out with a solution also.”
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for some of the petitioners, said that notices have been issued by the DGHS bringing in new seats which were not available to them and, now, students who were below in merit will be getting better seats. “After the second round of counselling, we were allotted the seats. Then DGHS issued two notices to bring into the pool some seats which were not available to them. Hundreds of seats were added to the pool and as a result, people who were well below in merit were given seats which were not available to us,” he said.
Senior advocate Rakesh Khanna, appearing for another set of students, said that there was a trend of blocking of seats and that was the reason why there were over 6,000 seats in the mop-up round.
Bhati said that the court should not allow any fresh registration in the stray round as, if it is allowed, then the process would become never-ending. She said that only 150 new seats were added and there were only two options available, either the seats be allowed to remain vacant or added in the mop-up round so that they get filled up. “During these COVID times, we need doctors. This is for the first time we have added new seats in the mop-up round,” she said.
Sankaranarayanan said the entire system has been unfair to the candidates as they had to pay substantial penalties of around Rs 5 lakh if they give up their seats and at least the court can order for waiving of penalties. The Bench said that if it does so, then it has to do it for all the candidates. Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for another set of petitioners, said that people who are much lower in rank will get better disciplines and these candidates will be stuck in a discipline in which they had no interest. “The Mop-Up round of over 6000 seats is unprecedented and, moreover, it is a question of equal opportunity,” he said.
One group of petitions before the top court filed by doctors said that they had participated in round one of the counselling and had joined one discipline but were not allowed to upgrade in round two and sought permission to appear in the mop-up round. In another set of petitions, doctors have challenged the Medical Counselling Committee notice, dated March 16, which restrains the participation in the mop-up round counselling if the candidate has already picked up seats in the state quota.