J&K HC Penalises BOPEE for Reshuffle of Professional Seats

A file photo of J&K High Court at Srinagar. KT Photo/Qazi Irshad
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SRINAGAR: For reshuffle of professional seats, the High Court today imposed a penalty upon the Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) for not providing suitable suits to the NEET-PG 2023 entrants and directed them to keep their seats reserved for them in the next session.

Srinagar-based news gathering agencies have reported:

According to 11 aggrieved candidates, consequent upon declaration of NEET-PG 2023 result, they submitted their preference of disciplines online where-after 8 candidates were allotted various disciplines, which according to them is not in accordance with their preference.

They submitted that they preferred disciplines chosen by them have been allocated to reserved category candidates who have secured lesser merit and other three candidates stated that they have not been allocated any seat because the preferences of disciplines opted by them have been allocated to the candidates of reserved categories having lower merit.

Justice Sanjay Dhar after having heard the Senior counsel Syed Faisal Qadri for aggrieved candidates held that the candidates are entitled to admission in MS Ortho in GMC, Srinagar, MD Psychiatry in SKIMS, Srinagar, MS General Surgery in GMC, Jammu and MS Orthopedics in GMC, Jammu.

Justice Dhar directed the BOPEE to keep one seat each in the aforesaid disciplines in the aforesaid institutions reserve in the next session and the candidates shall be entitled to admission against these seats/disciplines in accordance with their entitlement determined by the court. “The respondent-Board shall not put the aforesaid seats/disciplines for selection for admission to PG Course, 2024”, read the directions.

Court has imposed costs of Rs 6 lakhs on BOPEE and directed to pay the same as compensation to each of the candidates for having denied to them their rightful claims. “All these petitioners have approached this Court at the earliest i.e., on 24th August, 2023, immediately after the issuance of impugned provisional selection list dated 20th August, 2023. The selection process has concluded on 20th October, 2023, but unfortunately the writ petition could not be disposed of before the said date, therefore, no fault can be attributed to these petitioners”, the Court said.

It said that all the petitioners have been denied a seat of their preferred discipline by erroneous application of Rules 15 and 17 of the Reservation Rules which has resulted in denial of seats to them and allocation of the same to candidates belonging to other reserved categories who, admittedly, were having lesser merit.

“It is also not in dispute that petitioners, who belong to category, are having higher merit than the candidates who have been selected in RBA category, though in different disciplines.

Therefore, in order to undue wrong done to them, it is directed to reserve their seats for next session”, read the judgment.

Court rapped the BOPEE for not having illustrated even a single instance in their affidavit to show that application of Rule 17 of the Reservation Rules in the case of MRCs of EWS category has resulted in imbalance or anomalous situation.

“Without bringing any such instance to the notice of this Court, it can safely be stated that the respondents have violated the spirit of Rule 17 read with Rule 15 of the Reservation Rules, as has been interpreted by this Court”, Justice Dhar recorded.

BOPEE contended before the court that the Board has discretion to apply Rule 17 in a manner so as to avoid hardship to a meritorious category candidate and thus the Board was well within its jurisdiction to restrict the applicability of Rule 17 to the number of seats reserved for that particular category.

Court said this logic projected by the Board for deviating in applicability of Rule 17 of the Reservation Rules does not appear to be sound for the reason that on ground it has resulted in hardship to meritorious category candidates, inasmuch as the petitioners are definitely more meritorious than those category candidates who have been allocated disciplines/seats regarding which the petitioners had given their preference.