The Supreme Court reserved its order on Thursday on a plea seeking a Special Stray Round of counselling for NEET-PG 2021, to allow the candidates to participate for vacant seats available, after conducting a vacant stray round of All India Quota.
A Bench comprising Justice M.R. Shah and Justice Aniruddha Bose passed the order on a petition filed by the doctors, who appeared in NEET-PG 2021 and participated in rounds 1 and 2 of All India Quota (AIQ) Counselling and State Quota Counselling, which was followed by All India Mop-Up and State Mop-Up Rounds.
The Bench assured to consider the submissions made by both sides and said it will pass a detailed order tomorrow.
The top court of country had yesterday flayed the Medical Counselling Committee for leaving 1456 seats in NEET-PG vacant, stating that it not only created problems for the aspirants, but also lead to a dearth of qualified doctors.
The Supreme Court, while permitting the government to file an affidavit during the course of the day, directed it to explain the position of vacant seats and the reason why they were not filled.
The government further said that the counselling process for two academic sessions which is 2021 and 2022, could not run concurrently.
In a fresh affidavit today, the Centre submitted that the vacant seats were mostly non-clinical, meaning that they did not produce doctors, but teachers and hence, students usually did not opt for these seats.
Appearing for the Centre, ASG Balbir Singh submitted that this was an annual phenomena, seats in these areas were the ones, where no one applied. In 2021, out of the said 1,456 vacant seats, around 800 to 900 were opted for, but the students did not take admission. As result of this, the seats again became vacant, noted the ASG.
Later in the day, the Central government submitted an affidavit before the Apex Court, stating that the software being used for conducting NEET-PG 2021 online counselling was now closed and hence, it could not possibly fill 1,456 vacant vacant seats by conducting a Special Stray Round of counselling.
The Counsel for National Medical Council informed the Court that counseling for NEET-PG 2021 was closed after nine rounds.
It said that after four rounds of St counselling, four rounds of AIQ counselling and another round was conducted for AIQ round. After nine rounds, the counselling was closed.
As per the Counsel, this was an annual situation, which came every year and which was considered in 2019 also in the Educational Promotion Society vs Union of India,” he submitted.
Those who qualified for NEET-PG 2021, have already started taking classes in February, noted the ASG, stating that if the seats were filled now, it will have a detrimental effect on the new dtudents, as they would lag by six to eight months.
Counsel for the doctors, Senior Advocate Rachna Srivastava, said that the counselling was stopped abruptly on May 7 and as per the RTI reply, a large number of seats pertaining to a certain branch of surgery, anaesthesia and ophthalmology, were available,.
However, the Bench observed that there must be a limit to the entire process and if the seats remained vacant even after nine rounds of counselling, then the students cannot claim rights after 1.5 years.