SC orders fresh mop-up round counselling for NEET-PG 2021-22

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The Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the mop-up round counselling held for All India Quota (AIQ) of the NEET-PG courses for year 2021-22, and ordered a fresh mop-up round.

A bench, headed by Justice D.Y Chandrachud and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Bela Trivedi, said: “The All India Quota mop-up round of counselling shall stand cancelled. For the 146 additional seats which became available after AIQ round 2 on March 16, 2022, a fresh round of counselling shall be conducted as a special case. Students who have joined in round 2 either of the state quota or of the AIQ, will be at liberty to participate in the fresh round of counselling without any financial penalties.”

The bench noted that pursuant to its order on March 30, the Union Government – the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Directorate General of Health Services – has proposed to set right the anomalies which were noticed in the order.

It said in order to facilitate the expeditious completion of the process, the DGHS should invite options from students for the 146 new seats within 24 hours of the uploading of the notification and the process shall be completed within a period of 72 hours after the cut off for receipt of options.

The bench said: “A fresh mop-up round for AIQ seats shall be conducted and an endeavour shall be made to complete the process within a period of two weeks; and in line with the regulations which have been notified on April 5, 2018, students who have joined in round 2 of the state quota or round 2 of the AIQ shall not be eligible to participate in the mop-up round for All India Quota.”

It clarified that the above directions have been issued in pursuance of its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution to resolve the imbroglio which has arisen due to the anomalies which were noticed in the March 30 order.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court asked the DGHS to reconsider the decision of adding 146 new seats, as it directed the Central government to maintain status quo till Thursday on the mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling.

The bench had expressed concern at two aspects – the addition of 146 new seats in government college, and the lack of uniform application of March 16 notice of the Medical Counselling Committee barring students who took admissions in state quota from participating in the mop-up round for the All India quota. The bench said the DGHS should examine the issue.

On March 28, the Supreme Court sought response from the DGHS on petitions filed by various groups of doctors seeking participation in mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing some petitioners, submitted before the apex court that after the second round of counselling, his clients were allotted the seats and later, the DGHS issued two notices to bring into the pool some seats which were not available to them. He said hundreds of seats were added to the pool, and as a result, people not on merit were given seats, which were not available to his clients.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, representing another set of petitioners, submitted that people who were much lower in rank than his clients would get better disciplines.

The bench noted that staying the process of counselling will be a very extreme step. It added, “If we cancel the seats, then we will have to cancel all the admissions, which would further delay the whole process….”.

The apex court order came on petitions filed by a group of doctors seeking to participate in mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling. A group of petitioners contended that after round one of the counselling, they joined a discipline, but were not allowed to upgrade in round two. They sought permission to appear in the mop-up round.

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