Libertatem Magazine

Supreme Court Orders Lowering of Qualifying Cut-off by 10 Percentile in NEET 2020 for Admission in BDS Course 2020-21

Contents of this Page

Case Name: Harshit Agarwal Vs. Union of India [Writ Petition (C) No. 54 of 2021]

Facts of the case

In the present case, the writ petition was filed by the students who appeared for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examination in the year 2020 to get admission in the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course in the year 2020-2021. The students did not secure the prescribed marks for obtaining admission to the BDS course, and they were ineligible for admission to this course. On the recommendation of the 2nd Respondent, Dental Council of India, for lowering the qualifying cut-off percentile, the students submitted a representation to Respondent 1 seeking the same. This recommendation made by the executive committee of Respondent 2 was not accepted by Respondent 1. Having no other alternative the writ petition was filed before the Supreme Court by the Petitioner under Article 32 of the Constitution.

A similar writ petition was filed by the Dental Colleges of the State of Andhra Pradesh seeking the direction for lowering the minimum qualifying cut-off marks for the NEET examination of the year 2020 by 20 percentile in each category based on the recommendation by 2nd Respondent for admission in the BDS course.

Pleadings in the Court

The learned counsel on behalf of Petitioner contended that the regulation in which the prescribed marks for the admission in BDS course had been given has a proviso which empowered the Central government to lower the minimum marks required for admission to BDS course in consultation with the Dental Council of India. It was further contended that despite the recommendation for lowering the marks by the Dental Council of India, the 1st Respondent has made an arbitrary and unreasonable decision and did not act on the recommendation. It was also submitted that in the year 2019-2020, the cut-off marks were lowered by the first Respondent and the marks were lowered down for the specialty courses. He further argued that there were approx. 7000 seats which were vacant in the BDS course and the infrastructure available for them would be wasted.

On the other hand, the learned Additional Solicitor General, Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, pointed out that the decision taken by the respondent for not lowering the qualifying cut-off marks was a good decision as there was a sufficient number of dentists available in India. It was further submitted that the seats in the BDS course were vacant because the candidates gave preference to different streams.

Court Observation

The Court observed that the calculation done by the center was done without taking into consideration that the examination of NEET (UG) takes place for admission in different courses including, MBBS, BDS, UG AYUSH, etc. The Court also observed that:

“The first Respondent reduced the minimum marks for admission into first-year BDS course for the year 2019-2020 in consultation with the second Respondent. Despite the recommendation made by the second Respondent to reduce the minimum marks for the year 2020-2021, the first Respondent deemed it fit not to lower the minimum marks for the current year.” The court further said that “There is no dispute that the minimum marks have been reduced by the first Respondent for the super specialty courses for the last year and AYUSH courses for the current year.”

It was further observed that: “If reducing minimum marks amounts to lowering the standards, the first Respondent would not do so for super specialty courses. We agree with Mr. Maninder Singh, learned Senior Counsel for the Petitioners that lowering the minimum marks and reducing percentile for admission to the first-year BDS course would not amount to lowering the standards of education”

Court’s decision

After taking into consideration all the above points, the Court set aside the decision of the 1st Respondent and ordered to fill up the vacant seats for the BDS course by the candidates who appeared for NEET after lowering the percentile marks by 10 percentile. It said that:

“For the aforementioned reasons, we set aside the decision of the First Respondent dated 30.12.2020 to not reduce the minimum marks for admission to BDS course as it suffers from the vices of illegality and irrationality. We direct that the vacant seats in first year BDS course for the year 2020-2021 shall be filled up from the candidates who have participated in the NEET (UG) courses for the year 2020-2021 after lowering the percentile mark by 10 percentile.”

Click here for the judgement is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgment from courts. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can subscribe to our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

About the Author