New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday observed that granting a special round of counselling to fill up vacant post graduate (PG) medical seats will not be in the best interests of medical education and public health. NEET-PG 2021
The apex court made the remarks while dismissing a petition filed by a set of doctors who qualified for the NEET-PG 2021 and sought a special counselling round citing a huge vacancy of 1,456 PG seats after admissions were closed on May 7.
Petitioners are not entitled to a writ of mandamus for a special stray round of counselling as granting of such relief may affect medical education and public health,” a bench of justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose said.
The bench, while dismissing the petition filed by a group of seven doctors led by Astha Goel, said, “Even after 8-9 rounds of counselling, out of the 40,000 seats, only 1,456 seats are vacant. Of that, over 1,000 are non-clinical posts.”
The top court reserved its order on the matter on Thursday when the Centre said that vacant seats appear every year and it was on account of these seats being non-clinical or teaching posts which are not preferred by doctors as it does not aid their career.
The Centre informed that out of the 1,456 vacant seats, 1,100 are in private colleges that charge exorbitant fees while 300 are in government colleges. Furthermore, 76% of the total vacancies are in non-clinical courses and no purpose will be served by having an additional round. The Centre added that the counselling process for NEET-PG 2022 is due to begin in July and the software for NEET-PG 2021 counselling had closed.
The bench in its judgment noted the need for the Centre and the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) to adhere to the time schedule, and this will be possible only if NEET-PG 2022 admission process goes unhindered. The bench also noted that the PG 2021 session which had to begin last year is already running late by a year.
When a conscious decision has been taken by the government and MCC not to have an additional round of counselling, it cannot be said to be arbitrary. It is in the interest of medical education and public health,” the order stated.
On Thursday, the bench observed, “Can it be said that for a three-year course, admission can be granted after more than one year has elapsed? Doctors should be well trained. There cannot be any compromise with education as it can’t be that they are trained for less than three years considering the impact it has on the health of the people.
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