The Supreme Court instructed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 12th July, Monday to disclose the NEET-MDS 2021 counselling sessions within a week. A panel of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy noted that the delay in counselling may have significant repercussions for the students who have been waiting since the test results were released on 31st December, 2020.
“Prima facie, they have heard Senior Advocate Vikas Singh for petitioners and ASG Mr KM Natraj appearing for Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, we allow one week to respond to the complaints stated in the petition at the request of ASG. We anticipate that an expedient judgement will be made within the next week, and that the court will be notified when the Union Government intends to undertake counselling for students whose MDS NEET scores were released on 31st December, 2020. We trust that the Union Government is aware of the significant implications that these kids will suffer as a result of the lengthy delay in finishing the counselling,” the court stated
The Bench questioned ASG KM Nataraj during the hearing “The petitioners took the NEET MDS exam, and the results were announced in December. How can you cease MDS counselling only because NEET PG has been postponed?” Senior Counsel Vikas Singh, representing the petitioners, stated: “The activity must be completed virtually, thus it is possible. When it comes to a regulated setting, there is always the possibility of covid appropriate behaviour. Only when there is clear improper behaviour is there a chance of a third wave”.
Singh continued, “He is not sure why one batch has been affected. And no one seems to be thinking about it. He can understand why the Kumbh Mela, election rallies, and visitors pouring in without masks happened, but these are all highly controlled situations. There is no reason why counselling ought not be accessible."
According to ASG Natraj's submission, “They wish to organise counselling sessions, and it is their responsibility to do so. In terms of some reservations, the situation is different. The Madras High Court recently issued an order to grant reservation under the All-India Quota system, and a committee was formed to hammer out the details.”
“The decision was made in October 2020, and we are now in July 2021! You're going to hold MDS NEET counselling?”, the Bench made a remark.
They will, but they have requested explanations of the judgement (Saloni Kumari judgement) stated ASG.
According to Justice Chandrachud, “This is all a ruse now that they are speculating in front of bench. Because the decision in Saloni was made in 2020, and we are now in July, if you wanted to move for clarification, you could do so right away. We asked you to make a statement about how often you hold counselling sessions. You're just wasting your time with counselling. The government is only dithering.”
“For MDS NEET students, you must hold and complete counselling as soon as possible. These are BDS doctors who are squandering a year of their lives! They'd already be on the job, working in one of these hospitals. Allow these physicians to complete their education and obtain their degrees, and they will be able to help patients. Consider the cost to India of not enabling an entire class of PG students to finish their studies in one year,” Justice Chandrachud went on to say.
“Within one week, file an affidavit stating when you intend to complete the Counselling,” he stated his case.
The Dental Graduates, led by Advocate Tanvi Dubey, have requested that NEET-MDS 2021 counselling be conducted separately from NEET-PG counselling, rather than waiting till NEET-PG counselling is completed before starting NEET-MDS 2021 counselling.
The current appeal has been submitted through Advocate Charu Mathur, highlighting the unnecessary delay in releasing the NEET-MDS 2021 counselling schedule, and asking MCC to hold a separate counselling for the NEET-MDS 2021 and not wait for NEET-PG counselling to begin with NEET-MDS 2021 counselling. The Petitioners, who are NEET-MDS candidates with a BDS degree, have challenged the Medical Counselling Committee's (MCC) 'unjust and indefinite delay' in announcing the NEET-MDS 2021 counselling schedule. It should be mentioned that for the academic session 2021, NEET-MDS is the only eligibility cum entrance examination for admission to MDS Courses.
According to the petition, while NEET-MDS normally begins in March each year, there has been no update on the counselling schedule this year, despite the fact that the results were announced six months ago.
According to the petitioners, any additional delay in the release of counselling dates will result in the petitioners and hundreds of other hopefuls wasting a full year. The petitioners claim that there is no conceivable link for NEET-PG and NEET-MDS counselling to be performed concurrently, given that the former was postponed and determined not to be conducted until 31st August, 2021, with a one-month notice to prepare.
While describing the delay as arbitrary, unjust, and unreasonable, the plea also claims that the delay in announcing the counselling schedule is in violation of the MDS Course Regulations, 2007, which state that the academic session must begin on 1st May and must not be delayed beyond 31st May under any circumstances.
(Case Title: Debraj Samanta and Ors vs Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) and Ors)