Saturday, December 2, 2023

Delhi High Court refuses MBBS aspirant relief this academic year, next hearing in March

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The Delhi High Court has observed that a candidate cannot be assumed to have knowledge of the leniency with which the University of Delhi would treat an incomplete or incorrect document while hearing a petition by a medical aspirant who failed to upload documents online due to lacuna in the University’s application portal. 

A single-judge bench of Justice Prateek Jalan reprimanded the University on the stand taken by it in its affidavit that a candidate could even have submitted her “CW category” incorrectly, and would have given an opportunity to rectify the defects, upon verification. 

The Court noted that it is clear from the format of the portal, as disclosed by the university itself, that there was indeed no option for police personnel provided in the format. The Court also denied to accept the contentions of the University Counsel that the candidate would have been given an opportunity at a later stage to remedy the defects in the documentation even if they have applied in the other available category. 

Justice Prateek Jalan said, 

“In my view, prima facie, the aforesaid contentions cannot be accepted. There is nothing on record to show that candidates were informed in any way of the fact that they can submit incomplete information and would be required to remedy the defects later.”

“To my mind, a candidate cannot be assumed to have knowledge of the leniency with which the University would treat an incomplete or incorrect document, particularly in the light of stipulations directly to the contrary in its Bulletin of Information. Just because some candidates managed to overcome the lacuna in the portal of the University with their own resourcefulness does not mean that every candidate ought to have approached the matter in the same way. A candidate who chooses to be risk averse in her approach to the procedure for admission cannot be faulted for this,” said Justice Prateek Jalan. 

The Court was hearing the petition filed by a student who wanted to take admission in MBBS course in one of the colleges of the University of Delhi for 2020-2021. As the admission process was ending on Friday, the case was listed for hearing yesterday before the bench of Justice Prateek Jalan with the prayer that she would get admission in the same academic year. The petitioner wants to get the benefit of a medical seat in the “CW Category” as she is the daughter of a police gallantry medal awardee. The “CW category” is for the children and wards of defence, police and paramilitary officers. The reservations in the said category are divided into various sub-categories by way of priority. The petitioner falls within the priority V(x) titled “Police Medal for Gallantry”. 

The Court noted that as per the ‘Bulletin of Information’ published by the University, it is evident that the category includes children of defence personnel, paramilitary forces, and police forces. 

The Court noted that the petitioner could not register for the first round of counselling due to lacuna in the portal of the university. She ultimately started making representations only after the result of the first round of counselling. Even the representations not addressed to the University but to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India & the Medical Counselling Committee. It is only after she was declared unsuccessful in her second round of counselling, she made a representation to the University of Delhi and approached the Court after that. 

Further, the Court said it appears from the fact that there was a period of 10 days between the time she became aware of the lacuna in the University’s portal and the closing of registration for the first round of counselling. The petitioner did not, in fact, do anything during this period. 

“While I do not intend to suggest that the requirement of diligence translates into requirement that the candidate rush to the Court without availing of alternatives avenues of redressal, in the present case there does not seem to have been any or adequate effort on the part of the petitioner to seek redressal of her grievances, even from the University, during this period,” 

-said the Court while denying to grant relief to the petitioner in the present academic year.  

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However, the Court kept the matter alive on the submission put forward by Senior Advocate Mohan Parasaran that in view of the Judgment in S. Krishna Sradha, the Court should pass an order directing that the petitioner be granted alternative relief of admission in the next academic year, compensation, etc. The Court directed respondents to file their reply and list the matter for further hearing on March 18, 2021. 


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