The Supreme Court in a batch of petitions, while granting relief to a disabled student, has reduced the penalty from Rs 15 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs for leaving a seat vacant after obtaining admission in a three years’ post graduate degree course in a government medical college in Tamil Nadu.

In this case, the student suffered from post-polio residual paralysis with 63% disability.

“Having regard to the peculiar facts of the present case, and without this Court expressing any opinion on the issues of law involved, we direct that subject to the petitioner paying an amount of Rupees five lakhs to the State of Tamil Nadu, she would be permitted to participate in further rounds of counselling for the ensuing session and her documents shall be returned forthwith. This order is passed in the above peculiar facts and circumstances”, observed a bench comprising Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra.

Senior Advocate Brijender Chahar appeared for the petitioner and AAG Bansuri Swaraj appeared for the respondent.

In the factual matrix of the matter, the petitioner suffered from post-polio residual paralysis with 63% disability. She obtained admission in the mop up round of counselling, but thereafter left the seat. It is to be noted that the prospectus was issued by the State of Tamil Nadu showcasing an amount of Rs 15 lakhs.

The reason for the hefty amount being that a candidate while vacating a seat deprives another deserving candidate of the State seat in a government medical college (where the annual medical fee is only Rs 22,500). Furthermore, the government requires a bond from all medical students to serve in rural health care clinics for a stipulated period.

While disposing of the petition, the bench also observed, “Since the petitioner seeks a period of one week to pay the amount, she has undertaken through her counsel that the amount shall be positively paid on or before August 28 2023. The documents shall be returned to the petitioner in the meantime and she shall be permitted to participate in the ensuing counselling”.

It is also to be noted that in the lead matter in the batch of petitions, the Apex Court denied to entertain the petition (Amrit Malik v The Medical Counselling Committee & Ors.) as the student-petitioner was granted admission to a three-year post graduate medical degree course in the second round of counselling in the NR quota on 24 February 2022. However, left thereafter.

It is to be noted that despite the third and fourth the seat remained unfilled.

Therefore, the Court referred to its order dated May 9, 2023 in Dar-Us-Slam Educational Trust v Medical Council of India, where the court expressly stipulated that after the second round of counselling for All India Quota seats, students who take admission in All India Quota seats should not be allowed/permitted to vacate the seats.

Cause Title: Writ Petition (C) No 121 of 2023

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