Jammu and Kashmir High Court Dismiss the Writ Petition of Mandamus Filed by the Petitioner Seeking Admission to MD/MS/PG Diploma Courses

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On 26.05.2020, the Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Judge Rajnesh Oswal, via video conferencing, heard the case of Dr Sovia Anand v. B.O.P.E.E and Another. The Court dismissed the writ of mandamus. The reason being that the petitioner is ineligible to seek admission to MD/MS/PG Diploma Courses.

Facts of the case

In 2017, the petitioner Dr Sovia Anand, completed her PG Diploma Course in Pathology. She completed the course from GMC, Jammu. Further, she obtained admission for PG (MD) in Pathology at GMC and joined the course on 03.05.2018. Subsequently, she left the said course mid-way and her admission was cancelled with effect from 24.05.2019.

In 2020, she appeared in NEET-PG-2020 for the selection to MD/MS/PG Diploma courses for the session of 2020. She secured a place in the merit list in General Category with a score of 445. The respondent refused to conduct the counselling for her as per the mandate of SRO-48 dated 30.01.2018. SRO-48 does not allow a person to seek admission in a new course until the duration of the course left mid-way is over.

Contentions of the Petitioner

The petitioner filed a representation with the respondent no. 1, and said that she was not allowed to take part in the counselling. The petitioner stated that the duration of the said course would have ended in April 2020. The only reason this could not happen is due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The petitioner pointed out that if she is not eligible for the selection process, then why was she permitted to sit in the examination?

The petitioner contended that the respondents have not interpreted the provisions of SRO-48 in the right way. She further prays for issuance of a writ of mandamus. This is in regard to her allowance for admission for PG/MD/MS Diploma Course in a State Medical Institution. Further, she requests that her admission be allotted after the counselling. This would be as per her merit in NEET-PG, 2020.

Contentions of the Respondents

The petitioner is ineligible to compete for selection to the MD/MS/PG Diploma Course for 2020 session. The reason being that the petitioner leaving the course midway. And the duration of that course is not yet complete.

The completion of a course includes the period of examination which is May-June. The petitioner has wrongly stated that the duration of the course would end in April.

Jammu and Kashmir Board Of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) on 06-03-2020 issued a notice reiterating the conditions of eligibility. The condition no. 12 stated that notwithstanding the merit and qualification of the candidate, he/she has left the course mid-way will be ineligible for admission until the duration of the course left is over.

The respondent No. 1 only prayed for the dismissal of the writ petition and had not rejected the representation of the petitioner.  

Court’s Analysis

SRO-48 states that the candidates abandoning their course mid-way after admission will be ineligible to seek new admission. This will be until they would have normally completed the course had they not left it midway.

The petitioner contended that if it was not for COVID-19, the duration of the course would be over in April 2020, is invalid. This is because the selection process had started in November 2019. At that time, the petitioner was incompetent to even apply for the admission.

After an analysis of proviso of SRO-48 of 2018, the Court found that it is applicable for both categories of doctors. The doctors are the ones who are either doing PG/Diploma course or who have left the course midway.

The Court further states that such a proviso exists only to discourage or prevent the candidates from leaving the course midway. Further, abandoning a course would deprive other eligible candidates to seek admission. 

In the context of the same, the Court referred to the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Mabel v. State of Haryana, 2002. The Supreme Court, here, held that candidates leaving their course mid-way can become eligible only after the duration of the said course is normally over, had they not left it.

The State quota seats are required to be filled as per the eligibility criteria of States/Union territories. Thus, the petitioner is bound by the eligibility criteria of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Held

The Court held that the petitioner had no right to participate in the selection process as per the mandate of SRO-48. Thus, she is ineligible to seek admission for undergoing MD/MS/PG Diploma Courses. This restriction is until the duration of the abandoned course is over.

The NBE conducts examination for not only States or Union Territories seats but also for All India Quota Seats. Hence, the contention of the petitioner that if she was not eligible to take part in the selection process, then her being permitted to sit in examination has no merit. Thus, the Court dismissed the petition along with the connected application.


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