New Delhi, September 27, 2023 – In a significant legal development in the case titled The Registrar-In-Charge & Ors. V. Medhasree Goswami & Ors, Civil Appeal No.6084 Of 2023, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court has set aside an interim order issued on July 14, 2022, by the High Court of Calcutta. The Calcutta High Court’s order had permitted medical students to participate in counselling sessions for admission to the MBBS course at the West Bengal University of Health Sciences, based on the results of the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) conducted in 2019.
Grounds for Overturning the Order
The Supreme Court Division Bench, consisting of Justices Vikram Nath and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, based its decision on two primary grounds. Firstly, it held that using the NEET results from 2019 as the basis for counseling in 2022 for MBBS admissions was not tenable. Secondly, the Court opined that such a directive could not have been issued through an interim order.
The Court emphasized,
“…2019 NEET results could not have been the basis for allowing counseling in the year 2022 for admission to MBBS courses.”
The Case Background
The case centered around three petitioners who had appeared for the NEET (UG)-2019. These petitioners had secured ranks of 314773, 325058, and 664781, respectively, with percentiles of 77.5, 76.9, and 52.68. All three applicants had applied for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) eligibility certificate as per the prescribed format on July 22, 2019.
Before a Single-Judge Bench of the High Court, the petitioners argued that when they, residents of Jalpaiguri, approached the relevant authorities to participate in the Round 2 Counseling for the West Bengal University of Health Sciences’ selection process, they were informed that they were ineligible due to the absence of EWS certificates. These certificates were only issued to the petitioners on August 8, 2019, after Round 2 counselinghad concluded.
The High Court expressed its regret at the situation, recognizing that the petitioners had achieved high scores and rankings in a nationwide examination, with corresponding rankings for the state of West Bengal. In light of the unique circumstances, the Court directed the Registrar-in-charge of the West Bengal University of Health Sciences to allow the petitioners to participate in the MOP UP counseling for the WB UG MBBS State Quota Seats 2019. This decision was based on the EWS Certificates issued to the petitioners on August 8, 2019.
In response, the Registrar-in-charge of the University appealed against this order before a Two-Judge Bench of the High Court. During these proceedings, the High Court considered the petitioners’ argument that candidates ranking below them had been granted admission. Consequently, the Court issued the following order:
“This Court is, therefore, prima facie of the view that the petitioner should be at least allowed to participate in the counseling session for the admission process that shall commence in August 2022 for the admission to the MBBS course in the West Bengal University of Health Sciences.”
Supreme Court’s Resolution
To put an end to this ongoing litigation, the Supreme Court determined that it was necessary to address the Single Judge’s directions from 2019, which had subsequently led to the disputed order in 2022. As a result, the Court allowed the appeal presented by the Registrar-in-Charge and dismissed the writ petition.
This decision by the Supreme Court Division Bench effectively nullifies the Calcutta High Court’s 2022 order and reinforces the importance of aligning admission processes with the appropriate examination results and timelines. The case serves as a reminder of the need for legal clarity and adherence to established procedures in educational admissions, particularly in medical courses, to ensure fairness and consistency.