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A Rajasthan Medical College had not allocated a percentage of seats for the NRI category this year and had published a notification to that effect. The notification formed the basis of the tussle in Court.
A two-Judge Bench of the Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur has quashed a single Judge order that had directed the mandatory intake of students in the Non Resident Indian (NRI) quota at the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Sitapura (Chairman NEET PG Medical And Dental Admission Counselling Board v. Dr Nilay Gupta and Ors).
Accepting the submissions of the NEET Counselling Board the Bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Pankaj Bhandari ruled:
The Bench noted that in the PA Inamdar judgment of the Supreme Court and other allied precedents, it was only directed that the States cannot deny the decision of private institutions to allot a 15% NRI quota. However, this would not apply where the institution itself has not demanded any NRI seats.
In this case, the medical college had not allocated any seats in the NRI category this year and had published a notification to that effect. The seats that were supposed to have been in the NRI category were deemed as management seats.
Aggrieved by the notification, two NRI applicants had moved the Court urging for the Court to quash the same.
The original petitioners’ counsel argued that a 15% quota for NRI applicants was mandatory per the Supreme Court’s ruling in PA Imamdar v. State of Maharashtra and that this could not be bypassed. It was further submitted that the Medical college had in fact advertised its NRI seat allocation in its prospectus.
A single Judge of the High Court afforded the two petitioners relief. To this end, the NEET Counselling Board was directed to allot the petitioners positions in the Radiology and Gynaecology departments of the College.
Holding the notification illegal, the single Judge ruled that all students who had applied under the NRI category were to be counselled and that only once there were admitted could the remainder be allocated to applicants in the management category.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the Board, as well as two other applicants seeking a place in the college, filed an intra-court appeal, seeking a reversal of the single Judge order.
The Board averred that the college had notified its ‘seat matrix’ (including the non-inclusion of an NRI-quota this year) and this had been accepted without objection from other colleges.
Apart from this, it was asserted that the colleges had the sole discretion of allocating seats in the NRI category and that the candidates did not have a right to these seats. This was especially so given that the fee structure was the same for NRI and management seats, it was argued.
The Board also contended that the single Judge had usurped the Board's powers in directing the allocation of seats in favour of the original petitioners under the NRI category.
The Court, discussing the Imamdar judgment, explained,
Since the Medical College, in this case, was not charging a higher fee, the Court opined,
The Division Bench went on to accept the contention that the single Judge had overstepped his jurisdiction and usurped the Board's powers in his ruling.
In view of these observations, the appeal was allowed and the single Judge order was set aside. The admissions were directed to be conducted on the basis of the the seat matrix notified by the college and the students' merit.
Read the Order here: