Shocked to hear an allegation of 10 self-financing medical colleges in the State having “sold” 207 MBBS seats for hefty amounts ranging between ₹40 lakh and ₹50 lakh per seat, the Madras High Court on Friday suo motu included the colleges as respondents to a writ appeal, and called for an explanation from them.
Justices N. Kirubakaran and P. Velmurugan directed the colleges to submit the list of the 207 students, along with the marks they had obtained in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), by October 15, so that the court could find out whether meritorious candidates alone had been admitted or not.
The interim directions were given on a writ appeal preferred by S. Dheeran of Coimbatore, accusing the Directorate of Medical Education of having filled up only 53 of the 260 seats meant for non-resident Indians (NRI) quota, and returning the rest to private colleges to be filled up under the management quota.
Appellant’s counsel M. Velmurugan argued that the selection committee of the DME itself ought to have filled up the 207 seats through common counselling, instead of returning them to private colleges. He alleged that the colleges had “sold” those seats to less meritorious candidates for over ₹100 crore.
“Students who had scored the minimum eligiblity mark of 170 in NEET have been given admission under the unfilled NRI seats that were returned to the colleges, while those who had scored over 300 have not been able to gain admission. The first respondent (selection committee of the DME) has acted hand in glove with the colleges,” he contended.
However, explaining the process in detail, additional advocate general P.H. Arvindh Pandian and advocate V.P. Raman, representing the Medical Council of India (MCI), told the court that every self-financing college was mandated to earmark 15% of the management quota seats for NRI quota and hand them over to the DME.
Since all NRI quota seats could not be filled up in the counselling conducted by the selection committee of the DME, the vacant seats were given back to the colleges, along with a list of students in the order of merit and equalling to ten times the number of vacancies, so that they could be filled up under the management quota from that list.
Whether the colleges had filled up those vacancies from the merit list forwarded by the selection committee had to be ascertained only from them, the AAG said.
After hearing them in detail, Justice Kirubakaran pointed out that there were grey areas in filling up unfilled NRI quota seats. He said the government and the MCI should have a monitoring system in place.
He also stated that it might be better if counselling was conducted first for the NRI quota seats every year, so that the unfilled seats could be included in the common counselling conducted by the selection committee and offered to domestic students. He decided to issue appropriate directions to be followed from next academic year.