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Supreme Court asks Kerala govt to inform court about vacant after mop-up round

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Kerala Government to inform the court on the number of seats unfilled after commencement of Mop-up round. 

The bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant said this while hearing the plea of NRI students seeking fresh registration in NRI quota before commencement of Mop-Up counselling. 

The petition filed by Maha P, Nikith Lal Kumuttan and other NRIs students against Kerala Government, Commissioner for Entrance Examinations and Admission Supervision/Fee Regulatory Committee for Professional Colleges assailed the Kerala High Court judgment, which affirmed the single judge order which refused to extend the time for fresh registration as such extension would disrupt the academic calendar. 

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave appeared for the petitioners i.e., NRI students, who further submitted that seats allotted for NRI quota cannot be transferred to other quota.

The Division Bench of Kerala High Court vide order dated 8.04.2022 held that as per the directions issued by National Medical Commission and last date of admission in MBBS Course was on 8.4.2022, Kerala Private Medical College Management Association, Al-Azar Medical College & Super Specialty Hospital and Karuna Medical College cannot be given additional time for fresh registration in NRI Quota, since sufficient time was granted to them to exercise their option. 

The list was published on 24.12.2021, therefore the same can only mean that no eligible NRI candidate is available to exercise option said the order of Chief Justice Manikumar and Justice Murali Purushotthaman.

The document referred would not be of any help, since the students failed to produce their domicile certificates, opined the HC Division Bench.

The High Court while dealing with the contentions raised by Kerala Private Medical College Management Association and others, held that Commissioner for Entrance Examinations had reminded the colleges about the provisions in the prospectus regarding conversion of unavailed seats and when there is a provision in the prospectus for conversion of unavailed seats to mandatory reservation quota, it is not necessary to seek prior permission of the colleges by the Entrance Commissioner. 

The candidates, who seek admission under NRI quota in private self-financing medical colleges, have to submit their application with required certificates under ‘claim for special/ mandatory reservation, as held in Writ Petition of Association i.e. of Kerala Private Medical College Management Association categorically held by the Kerala High Court. 

The petitioner, Kerala Private Medical College Management Association in W.A. No. 485 of 2022 in its contention, relied upon the judgment of the Apex Court stating that in order to avoid lapse of seats in NRI quota for want of production of domicile certificates by the concerned students directed the Commissioner for Entrance Examination to admit students without requiring domicile certificates.

The clause 5.5.4 of prospectus states that if any seat, in any special reservation quota including PwD quota is left unavailed by candidates belonging to that particular category, it will go to the mandatory reservation quota. Clause 5.5.4 is an inclusive clause which takes in all category including the NRI quota, hence the contention of Association that NRI quota will not come within ambit of special reservation, the division bench of Kerala High Court affirmed.

The association contended that for fresh registration in NRI quota, the time has to be extended and shall not be converted into general category seats as per clause 5.5.4. 

“It is also pointed out that the last date for admission process was not 05.04.2022 and the said date has been extended till today. Also, so far as the self-financing dental colleges are concerned, the Commissioner for Entrance Examinations addressed to the Principals of the Self-Financing Colleges, has sought the permission of the colleges to convert the vacant NRI seats to general category and the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations ought to have sought for permission of the members of the appellant association before converting the vacant NRI seats as per clause 5.5.4 of the prospectus,” the Association contended.

The Single Judge was apprised of the facts that there were total 358 NRI seats in Kerala, of which 300 seats were filled prior to second allotment. At the time of filing of the writ petition, 57 seats in the NRI quota remain unfilled. After the passing of the interim order on 29.3.2022, a few more students have exercised their option. However, as on date, about 46 seats remain unfilled. That can only mean that no eligible NRI quota candidate is available to exercise the option, hence dismissed the Writ Petition.

The Judge observed that classes had commenced and as per the directions issued by the National Medical Commission, the closing date for admission W.A. Nos. 485 and 488 of 2022 is 05.04. 2022.As per clause 5.5.4 of the prospectus would come into play and the same being not under challenge, the respondents would be at liberty to fill up the seats in accordance with the provisions of the prospectus. 

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