The bench directed DGHS to invite options from students within 24 hours and complete process within 72 hours after the cut-off time for the options.
The Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the All-India Quota mop-up round counselling for NEET-PG 2021-22 admissions to “resolve the anomalies” over 146 fresh seats, which were not available for candidates who participated in round one and two of the process.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Bela M Trivedi directed holding of a special round of counselling for 146 fresh seats and allowed the students, who have joined the All-India Quota (AIQ) or state quota in round two to participate in it.
The bench directed the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) to invite options from students within 24 hours and complete the process within 72 hours after the cut-off time for the options.
The bench clarified that all the directions have been issued in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution.
At the outset, additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, said that DGHS has decided to drop the 146 fresh seats, which were added for the first time in the mop-up round.
On the advisory of March 16, Bhati said that it is in tune with the earlier verdict of the top court but the problem was that many states had not informed the Centre on time about the number of students, who had taken admission under State quota.
The suggestion of dropping the seats, did not go well with the court as the bench said, “You can very well have an additional round for filling of 146 seats and we will have 146 more doctors. You don't have to drop the seats; it is a criminal way to drop the seats.”
The bench said that DGHS may hold a fresh round of counselling for 146 seats after asking for options from the students within 24 hour and complete the process within one week.
“We will uphold the advisory of March 16 that students who had participated in round two of the counselling for state quota will not participate in the mop-up of the All-India Quota,” the bench said.
Advocate Shivendra Singh, appearing for some of the doctors, said that the March 16 advisory is against the scheme contemplated in the earlier verdict of the top court and it is like changing the rules in between as students were given to believe that those who have taken state quota will be eligible to participate in the mop-up round of AIQ.
The bench said that although Singh has been persuasive, it cannot grant relief to his clients as not everyone can be pleased.
Bhati suggested to the court that if the it is allowing the students who participated in round two of AIQ to participate for 146 seats, then students from state quota could also be allowed to ensure parity.
She said that option be confined to round two only as the seats are always added in that round and it has not been problematic as round one candidates get free exit as an option.
On Wednesday, the top court had directed the Centre to maintain status quo till Thursday in the mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling and asked the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) to reconsider issues, including the decision of adding 146 new seats.
The apex court had observed that these 146 seats were not available to the candidates in the previous rounds of counselling and they had no opportunity to participate in these seats.
It had said that these 146 seats have been allocated to students who are lower in merit than those who were allotted seats in the rounds one and two of the counselling.
The top court is hearing petitions filed by a group of doctors seeking to participate in the mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling.
One group of petitions filed through advocate Tanvi Dubey said that the doctors who had appeared in NEET-PG and participated in round one of the counselling and had joined were not provided upgrade in round two.
Another group of petitions challenged the March 16 advisory of the Medical Counselling Committee which restricts the candidate from participating in mop-up round, if has chosen a seat in State quota.
On March 28, the apex court had asked the 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.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranaryanan, appearing for some of the petitioners, had 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.