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Friday, June 19, 2009

SC smells a rat in all-India quota medical admissions

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday smelt a rat in the admissions under the 50% all-India quota PG courses in state government-run medical

colleges and warned of a detailed probe if students successful in the second round of counselling were not accommodated in specified institutions.

It was the peculiar case of one Ruchika Arora that drew the court's attention to possible irregularities in the admissions to PG courses in the medical and dental colleges in various states under the all-India quota.

After being allotted a seat in the MDS course in Government Dental College in Amritsar in the first round of counselling held by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Arora participated in the second round of counselling and opted for Dental Sciences Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical Univeristy, Lucknow.

On reaching Lucknow, she was informed by the university authorities that there was some communication gap between DGHS and the institution and that there was no seat for her. On returning to Amritsar, where she had deposited the fee, Arora realised that the seat vacated by her had already been filled up. For no fault of her, she is left in the lurch, senior advocate P S Narsimha informed the apex court.

A vacation Bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and Aftab Alam took strong exception to DGHS's excuse that there was a communication gap and asked it to ensure that she got admission in the Amritsar college.

When the DGHS official present in the court dithered and instructed counsel Naresh Kaushik to seek a direction in this regard to the concerned college, the Bench took exception and said: "It is a clear case for seeking damages. What do you mean by communication gap? Can the government take shelter behind such a plea?"

Then came the stringent warning: "If something happens and the child is deprived of admission, then drastic action will follow. We will reopen the entire admissions and order an inquiry."

As it transpired later, Arora's was not an isolated case regarding "communication gap". Counsel Prasanjit Keshwani told the court that his client Prashant Sadashiv Patil faced a similar fate and sought SC's intervention.

Keshwani said Patil was allotted a seat in MS (general surgery) at Gauhati Medical College after the first round of counselling. However, he decided to take the seat in the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER) at Kolkata after the extended second round of counselling. Yet, on reaching Kolkata he was told that the all-India quota seats have been filled up because of a "communication gap". The SC decided to hear the case on Thursday.

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