SC pulls up Medical Counselling Committee over vacant NEET-PG seats

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) over the issue of postgraduate medical seats remaining vacant after the latest round of NEET-PG counselling.

As many as 1,456 seats were vacant after the round of counselling that took place on May 7, 2022, the counsel appearing for the MCC told a Bench of Justices M R Shah and Aniruddha Bose, which was hearing a plea seeking one more “stray round” of counselling to fill the existing vacancies.

“You are playing with the future of the students…You came to know in May and could have held another mop up round…We fail to understand what you will get by keeping the seat vacant when we are in need of doctors and super specialists… Why are you not filling up?” asked Justice Shah.

The MCC counsel said, “The counselling for this year has been delayed. It was supposed to start in February 2022…Previous years’ counselling concluded on May 7, 2022. For this year, it will begin in July. Results of the exam were declared on June 1…What happened in 2021…There have been some delays.”

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When the court asked what would happen if one more stray round was conducted, the MCC counsel said there would be a “cascading effect”. “The 2022 counselling will get delayed and subsequently the commencement of the academic year will get delayed,” the counsel said.

Justice Shah, however, said the MCC should have done this in May. “You cannot now be permitted to say it will cause delay,” he said.

The Bench also questioned why additional seats were being added in the midst of the counselling.

“Why during the midst of the admission process, you are adding the seats. There must be a cut off…If subsequently seats are added, there is chance of corruption in the admissions”.

“If students are not given admission, we will pass appropriate orders of compensation. You are playing with the future of doctors,” the Bench said.

Justice Shah asked why things couldn’t be streamlined, especially since there is already a lot of stress in the education system.

The Bench fixed the matter for hearing again on Thursday after the MCC counsel said he would file an affidavit explaining how the vacancies had arisen.

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