Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Observing that the admission process is tainted, with meritorious students facing the heat, the Bombay high court recently ordered the Directorate of Medical and Health services in Dadra & Nagar Haveli to create an additional seat for an MBBS aspirant, who had scored 559 marks in the NEET 2020 exams, but wasn’t given admission because of reservation.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni was seized with a plea filed by a girl seeking admission to the NAMO college in the district.

The girl was denied admission as the authorities considered another candidate who had secured 219 marks in the NEET exams under the category reserved for Coast Guards.

The judges, having considered the facts of the case, said, “It is rather painful when a candidate scoring as low as 219 marks in the NEET 2020 obtains admission to the MBBS course because of a quota for the Coast Guards (to which we have no qualms) whereas a candidate like the petitioner, scoring as high as 559 marks in the same qualifying examination, is left high and dry and suffers for no fault on her part, compelling her to seek judicial intervention.”

The chief justice, in his separate judgment, noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic, several doctors had succumbed to the virus and thus the pool of doctors had to be replenished. The judges also said that the present admission process was tainted.

“The admission process, in my view, suffers from a serious taint and if such a tainted admission process is saved, the rule of merit would be compromised, which, in turn, would frustrate the labour of meritorious students like the petitioner, apart from development in them of a sense of aversion to the concept of qualifying examinations,” CJ Datta said.

“Covid-19, in the past year, has taken away from society a number of reputed doctors. The pool of doctors, thus, has to be replenished fast. If meritorious students desirous of becoming doctors are not encouraged in such challenging times, it would amount to a grave disservice to the society,” the chief justice added.

The CJ further said that the “resolve to render social justice would be a distant dream, if interference in this case were declined”.

“This is indeed an exceptional case where commencement of classes notwithstanding, the petitioner is still entitled to claim admission in the MBBS course upon creation of an additional seat in the relevant college,” the chief justice held.

While concurring with the decision of Justice Kulkarni, the CJ said that the resolve in the Preamble was to secure “social justice” to all.

“In the class-ridden society that we live in, ‘social justice’ should mean justice for the weaker and poorer sections of society, particularly when we have also resolved in the Preamble to secure ‘equality of status and opportunity’ and securing justice to the weaker and the poorer section could make them equal with the rest of the society.”

“In a given case such as the present, where it is neither black nor white but a grey area, to rise to the challenge for ‘social justice’, whenever the weaker or poorer section faces a combat against the stronger or richer section, the courts ought to lean in favour of the former so that ‘social justice’, i.e., justice to the weaker or poorer section of the society is ensured,” the judge observed.

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