The Bombay high court (HC) has refused to interfere with recently concluded admission to postgraduate (PG) medical courses in seats that come under the Maharashtra quota.
A two-member HC division bench, comprising Justices SV Gangapurwala and Shrikant Kulkarni, last week dismissed a petition filed by two PG aspirants from Aurangabad, who had questioned the July 15 decision of the Maharashtra common entrance test (CET) cell to reduce qualifying marks by 20 percentile points for every category.
The petitioners had also sought directions to allow them to fill fresh preference forms and a restraint on candidates higher in the merit list than them to register after the change in the qualifying criteria.
They had pleaded that granting them a second opportunity to register as fresh candidates would deprive them a chance of betterment.
Senior advocate VJ Dixit, the petitioners’ counsel, submitted that the change in eligibility criteria in the midst of the admission process was contrary to the law, rules and regulations governing PG medical admissions.
He said after the change, newly eligible candidates were allowed to submit online preference forms after the change in eligibility criteria. He said the new candidates, though low in the merit list, had higher chances of securing admissions in better colleges, as they were allowed to fill preference forms after two rounds of admission and had better idea of availability of seats in various colleges after the first two rounds. The petitioners, despite being more meritorious, were deprived of the opportunity, as they were not allowed to fill fresh preference forms after the change, Dixit argued.
Advocate MD Narwadkar, who appeared for the CET cell, said the change was introduced by the Medical Council of India (MCI). He submitted that the apprehension of the petitioners was misplaced, as “the sequence of preference does not dilute the merit”.
Narwadkar also pointed out that as per the prevailing rules, candidates participating in the admission process under the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) are not permitted to change their preference after forms are “submitted” by them online.
HC dismissed the petition in view of the CET cell’s assurance that “the sequence of preferences does not dilute the merit”.
The CET cell maintained that merit is not compromised and the system gives the first preference to the more meritorious candidates.
The bench also took note of the fact that the prevailing rules do not permit changing preferences after forms are filled, and that a clause of the brochure specifically makes it clear that seat distribution chart was subject to change, as per the MCI’s instruction, or availability of surrendered seats from the nation-wide quota etc.
The bench said it was possible to pass any adverse order against more meritorious candidates in their absence and did not seek to restrain it.