New Delhi: The Supreme Court recently cancelled the admissions granted to seven Postgraduate Dental Students who had been admitted by the concerned dental colleges by backdoor entry, outside the state counselling process.

Upholding the cancellation order issued by the Directorate of Medical Education, Raipur Chhattisgarh, the top court bench comprising of M.R.Shah and M.M. Sundresh  denied allowing the students to complete their courses and observed, “the undue sympathy would lead to perpetuating the illegality and giving premium to the students who got admissions illegally.”

“Even otherwise, once it is found that the respective original writ petitioners were granted admissions illegally and their admissions are backdoor, thereafter to allow them to continue their course shall be perpetuating the illegality,” further noted the bench.

The matter goes back to 2018 when the cut-off date for PG dental admission was 31.05.2018. As per the procedure and relevant provisions of the Chhattisgarh Dental Medicine Postgraduate Admission Rules, 2017, Dentists Act, 1948, and MDS Course Regulations 2017, the admission process was conducted by the State Government. Therefore, the details of the seats were required to be sent to the State Government and Directorate of Medical Education, Raipur Chhattisgarh. Following this, the State used to conduct the admission on the basis of the State Counselling process.

In this case, the dispute was in regard to three Dental Colleges- New Horizon Dental College Research Institute, Maitri College of Dentistry and Research, Anjora Durg and Rungta College of Dental Sciences and Research, Bhilai. New Horizon College intimated seven seats, Maitri College intimated nine seats and Rungta College intimated fifteen seats to be included in the mop up round. Accordingly, the Directorate of Medical Education had notified about the vacant seats in these three colleges.

Following this, altogether 74 candidates including the petitioner students appeared in the mop up round of counselling. Altogether 43 candidates were allotted to these vacant seats and almost all the vacant seats of these colleges had been filled. Only two seats at Rungta College were vacant.

Out of those 43 allotted seats, 35 candidates joined and 8 seats remained vacant due to non-joining. Therefore, only three seats remained unallotted after mop up round of counselling. After receiving this information, the DME immediately sent list of 30 students for filling three vacant seats in the ratio of 1:10 according to merit list of the students to the principal of two Dental Colleges where seats were unallotted.

However, the names of the concerned 7 students who are petitioners in the original plea, had not been included in the list of thirty-five candidates. Meanwhile, some of the seats remained vacant at the concerned three dental colleges and therefore in those vacant seats, the seven concerned students had been admitted by the concerned colleges on 31.05.2018 after 4:30 p.m. However, the colleges informed the DME about these admissions only after the completion of the admission process.

Thereafter, the DME cancelled these illegal admissions on 06.06.2018 and the matter came to be challenged before the High Court. Consequently, the HC bench issued an interim order and stayed the concerned communication dated 06.06.2018 and directed to to continue the admission. Finally, the HC bench quashed and set aside the cancellation order and directed that the petitioner students would be allowed to complete their course.

Challenging the HC order, the Dental Council of India approached the Supreme Court. The counsel for DCI submitted before the top court bench that the HC bench has erred in quashing and setting aside the cancellation order issued by the DME. It was further submitted that by allowing the admissions, the HC bench perpetuated the illegality committed by the concerned institutions/colleges in admitting the students/original writ petitioners illegally.

The DCI counsel contended that the concerned students had been admitted de hors the policy, rules and regulations required to be followed. It was further pointed out that the colleges granted admissions to those students by backdoor. Therefore, the DCI counsel argued that the HC order cannot be a ground for allowing those students to complete their course.

In this context, the DCI counsel relied upon the Supreme Court order in the case of Abdul Ahad and Others v. Union of India and Others and the recent decision of the Apex Court in the case of Board of Governors in Supersession of Medical Council of India v. Dr. Priyambada Sharma & Others.

On the other hand, the counsel for the colleges submitted that the seats remained vacant and the private colleges had granted admission to the students in order to ensure that the seats are not wasted. The colleges argued that the students who had been granted admissions were all meritorious students and therefore the merits have not been ignored. Therefore, the colleges pleaded before the top court to allow the students to get their results since they have already completed the course.

After taking note of the submissions by both the parties, the top court bench noted that the students had been granted admissions illegally. The court observed, “At the outset, it is required to be noted that the respective original writ petitioners were granted admissions by the private institutions/colleges in the postgraduate course illegally. Their admissions can be said to be backdoor. The admissions in the postgraduate course were required to be made only through counselling by the Directorate and the counselling was to be done with respect to number of seats intimated by the concerned institutions/colleges. The admissions in the concerned institutions/colleges were required to be given/granted as per the merit only.”

“As per the procedure and regulations, if after the first counselling the seats remained vacant, there shall be second round of counselling and then mop up counselling to fill up the vacant seats intimated. Every time the institutions/colleges were required to intimate the Directorate the particulars about the vacant seats and those vacant seats were required to be filled in on merits by the Directorate through counselling. The last date and the time for granting admission was 4:30 p.m. on 31.05.2018. In the present case, in the mop up round of counselling, the original writ petitioners did participate but could not secure admission on merits in the respective colleges/institutions in which subsequently they got admissions through backdoor. If the original writ petitioners were so much meritorious, they would have got admissions in the respective colleges/institutions on merits through mop up round conducted by the Directorate,” further observed the bench.

“During the mop up round, they could not get admissions in the respective private institutions/colleges, that itself is suggestive that they were not having merit to get admissions in the institutions/colleges in which subsequently they got admissions. Therefore, the submission on behalf of the private institutions and even the students that they were meritorious students and the merit is not given go bye cannot be accepted,” it further noted.

Noting that the colleges had not informed the DME about the vacant seats, the bench observed, “In the present case, though required, the private institutions/colleges did not intimate to the Directorate/State Government with respect to seats remained vacant. Without any intimation to the Directorate/State Government, the private institutions/colleges unilaterally granted admission to the original writ petitioners on 31.05.2018 after 4:30 p.m., which was not permissible at all.”

“It is not appreciable how the original writ petitioners came to know that at 4:30 p.m. on 31.05.2018, the seats have remained vacant in the institutions/colleges. The only inference can be that the institutions and the students were hands in glove and the students got admissions illegally,” the court noted.

Referring to the top court order in the case of Supreet Batra and Others v. Union of India and Others, the bench mentioned in the order, “Applying the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decisions, even if on the last date of admission, seats remained vacant was no ground by the institutions/colleges to grant admissions unilaterally and that too without intimating the vacant seats to the Directorate.”

Observing that the HC should not have allowed the students to complete the course, the Apex Court noted, “Now so far as the prayer on behalf of the institutions/colleges and the respective original writ petitioners to permit them to continue the course and/or to declare their results as they have completed their studies/course is concerned, the said prayer is required to be rejected outright…the State promptly took a decision to annul/cancel their admissions on the ground that their admissions were absolutely illegal…The interim order passed by the High Court is not legally sustainable. As per the settled position of law, nobody can be permitted to take the advantage of the order passed by the Courts.”

The Court also referred to the top court orders in the case of K.S. Bhoir v. State of Maharashtra, Mahatma Gandhi University v. GIS Jose and noted, “Applying the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decisions, the prayer on behalf of the institutions/students to allow them to complete their course is not required to be accepted. As observed hereinabove, the undue sympathy would lead to perpetuating the illegality and giving premium to the students who got admissions illegally.”

Restoring the cancellation of issued by the DME, the bench mentioned in the judgment, “In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the impugned common judgment and order passed by the High Court directing the admissions of the respective original writ petitioners and quashing and setting aside communication dated 6.6.2018 issued by the Directorate/State Government annulling/cancelling the admissions of the original writ petitions is unsustainable and the same deserves to be quashed and set aside and is accordingly hereby quashed and set aside. Consequently, the writ petitions preferred by the original writ petitioners stand dismissed and communication dated 6.6.2018 issued by the Directorate annulling/cancelling the admission of the original writ petitioners in the postgraduate course in the respective private institutions/colleges is hereby restored.”

To read the order, click on the link below:

https://medicaldialogues.in/pdf_upload/supreme-court-backdoor-entry-189101.pdf

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