NEET-UG - SC Dismisses Plea Seeking More Time For Fresh Registration In NRI Quota In Unaided Private Medical Colleges In Kerala
A Supreme Court Bench of Justice Dr. Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice Bela M Trivedi dismissed a Petition seeking direction to grant time for fresh registration in the NRI quota in NEET-UG in the unaided private medical colleges in Kerala.
To that end, the Bench held that "Since the appellants have not challenged the provisions of the Information Bulletin which stipulate that the vacant NRI seats shall be converted to unreserved seats during the mop-up round, we cannot decide on the legality of such a conversion of seats. The 4 appellants who had registered their options for NRI seats had not exercised their options with respect to any of the vacant 45 NRI seats. The respondents merely complied with the provisions of the Information Bulletin which is not in challenge before us in the present proceedings. The respondent association had only sought an extension of time for submission of documents by candidates seeking to apply for the NRI quota seats. The representation was rejected by CEE since sufficient time and extension had been given for the submission of the documents. The appellants have not contended that the rejection of the representation was mala fide or arbitrary."
The Appellants were candidates who qualified for the NEET exam and had applied for the MBBS seats under the NRI category. Senior Counsel Mr. Huzefa A Ahmadi and Mr. Dushyant Dave appeared on behalf of the Appellants. Senior Counsel Mr. Jaideep Gupta appeared on behalf of the State.
The National Testing Agency invited online applications for NEET-UG 2021-22. Private institutions reserve 15% of the total seats for the NRI category. The unaided private medical colleges in the State of Kerala have 358 seats in the NRI quota, and the rank list of the eligible NRI quota candidates was exhausted after two rounds of counseling. However, even after the exhaustion of the NRI rank list, 57 seats were vacant.
The Kerala Private Medical College Management Association, i.e., the Respondent Association made a representation to the Commissioner for Entrance Examination to invite fresh applications to fill up the vacant seats in the NRI quota on the ground that students were unable to submit the required documents before the cut-off date due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Petition was filed on 24 March 2022, seeking direction to grant time to candidates to register for the NRI quota seats before the commencement of the mop-up counseling. The Single Judge of the High Court directed the CEE to consider the representation filed by the Respondent Association. The CEE complied and held that no further extension of time could be provided since candidates had been given sufficient time to apply for the NRI quota.
The CEE transferred the 47 vacant NRI seats in private medical institutions to the general state quota for the mop-up round. The Single Judge of the High Court, and subsequently the Division Bench of the High Court, dismissed the Petition against this decision.
A Petition was filed before the Supreme Court.
The Court noted that in the prayer, the Appellants had only sought an extension of time for the submission of documents necessary for applying for the NRI quota, as opposed to challenging the transfer of unfilled NRI seats to the State. To that end, the Supreme Court opined that since the Appellants did not challenge the conversion of vacant NRI seats to unreserved seats during the mop-up round, the legality of the same could not be decided by the Court. Further, the Court noted that the Appellants had not contended that the rejection by the CEE was mala fide or arbitrary, and therefore no decision could be passed regarding the legality of the same.
Therefore, the Supreme Court dismissed the Appeals.