NEET-PG Counseling: SC Refuses to Allow Students Who Surrendered State Quota Seats to Attend Mop-Up Rounds


    The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea by students who had resigned from seats granted in the Round-2 of State Quota Counselling, requesting permission to attend the Mop-Up rounds in the NEET-PG 2021 Counselling case.

    The Court, on the other hand, has enabled such students to return to the State seats from which they resigned by April 9 at 5 p.m.

    Students who had relinquished their seats granted in Maharashtra and Gujarat state quotas filed petitions before a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Sanjiv Khanna, and Surya Kant. The petitioners essentially sought a declaration that the Supreme Court’s March 31 order restricting State Quota candidates from participating in the Mop-Up round applies only to those candidates who were holding State Quota seats as of 31.3.2022, and not to those who had resigned/canceled/surrendered their State Quota Round 2 seat prior to 31.3.2022 in accordance with the Medical Counselling Committee’s notice dated 16.03.2022. It should be mentioned that on March 31, 2022, a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud annulled the Mop-Up Rounds and ordered a Special Round of Counseling for the 146 seats, allowing students who had joined the AQI or the State Quota in Round 2 to participate in this round for 146 seats.

    The March 16 guideline, which prohibits students who took seats in the State Quota after Round 2 from participating in the Mop-Up, was also affirmed by the Court.

    Advocate Shivendra Singh (for Maharashtra candidates) and Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde (for Gujarat candidates) contended that students who had resigned state quota seats in accordance with the MCC circular should be treated differently than those who held state quota seats as of March 31. They argued that the candidates should not be punished for behaving in accordance with the MCC’s directive. The March 31 decree, it was contended, should not apply to individuals who vacated their seats before that day.

    Allowing the petitioners’ plea will disturb the counseling process, according to Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati. The petitioners, according to the ASG, we’re attempting to obtain a review of the March 31 ruling, which is illegal. The State of Maharashtra, represented by Advocate Sachin Patil, argued that the resigned students were permitted to return because of their anguish.

    To underline the difference, Senior Advocate Hegde pointed out that the yearly price for state round 2 seats is Rs.22.50 lakhs, while the annual charge for mop-up seats is Rs 1.50 lakhs.

    The bench stated that there is no such thing as a “completely foolproof mechanism” and that the process should have “finality.” The bench further stated that granting the petitioners’ request could result in a “domino effect,” since other candidates may subsequently make similar demands.

    As a result, the bench dismissed the petitions while permitting the candidates to reclaim the surrendered State seats by 5 p.m. on April 9.

    The bench was considering an application filed by a group of doctors from Maharashtra who had taken part in the medical counseling conducted by the Medical Counselling Committee for the 50 percent All-India Quota and the State Common Entrance Test Cell of the Maharashtra Government for the 50 percent State Quota. Doctors had filed an application through Advocate Shivendra Singh seeking clarification of the Supreme Court’s order dated March 31, 2022, which stated that students who had applied in round 2 of the state quota or round 2 of the AQI would not be eligible to participate in the mop-up round for the All India Quota.

    The relief sought was that the order dated March 31 only applied to those candidates who had joined the State Quota Round 2 seat as of 31.3.2022, and not to those who had consciously chosen to cancel/resign from the State Quota Round 2 seat by 5.00 pm on 22.3.2022 in accordance with Notice dated 17.3.2022 issued by the Maharashtra State Common Entrance Test Cell.

    Doctors also requested that the March 31 ruling not be applied to students who were given the option by the State Government to reapply for the second round state quota by April 6 at 5 p.m.

    Although the petitioners had tendered their resignations from their allotted seats by the State Common Entrance Test Cell of the Government of Maharashtra for the 50% State Quota in accordance with Notice No 8 dated 17.3.2022, they were now being informed that their names would not be sent to the MCC for participation in the All India Quota Mop-Up round, which is to be re-conducted, it was argued in the application.

    The State Common Entrance Test Cell of the Government of Maharashtra’s Counselling Brochure was also cited, which stated that the State had expressly enabled the Applicant to resign from their State Round 2 Quota seat under Clause No. 14 and 19.1 of the Information Brochure.

    It should be noted that the Supreme Court clarified on Tuesday that a candidate will lose her seat granted in Round-2 of the All India Quota Counselling only if she enrolls in the Special Round for the newly additional 146 seats.

    Case Title: Dr. Suraj Shete & Ors v The Medical Counselling Committee

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