The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Monday informed the Supreme Court on Monday of its inability to "amicably" resolve the "stray vacancies" issue in connection with postgraduate medical courses in private medical colleges across the country. Nearly 450 seats are yet to be filled.
Advocate Devashish Bharuka, appearing for a society of deemed universities/medical colleges, told the vacation bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Surya Kant that the court may look at extending the date of counselling for a reasonable period to address the issue, especially for meritorious students.
However, the counsel for the DGHS vehemently opposed this and instead contended that it is not possible to arrive at an amicable solution in the matter.
Bharuka had argued that the extension of stray vacancy round to medical colleges in order to fill vacant seats should be introduced for the current academic year, as it would be beneficial for both the colleges concerned and also to the students who are looking to pursue PG courses.
Earlier, the court had asked counsel for the DGHS to take instructions and "if possible, amicably resolve the disputes. If needed, counselling may have to be extended by a short period of a week or so".
The court's observation came as deemed universities sought directions to extend the deadline, till June 17, for stray vacancy round for meritorious students who have already qualified the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and have their names included in the DGHS waiting list. The last date of counselling for PG medical courses was on May 31.
Bharuka contended that these students should be given another opportunity rather than let the PG seats remain vacant in the current academic year, and the colleges are willing to follow whatever mechanism the DGHS develops to fill the vacant seats.
To this, the DGHS counsel said that they will file an affidavit on the issue. The court has listed the matter for further hearing on Thursday.
The petition brought to the notice of the court that hundreds of seats go vacant every year in PG medical courses due to certain technical or other reasons, despite the best efforts of the medical colleges. As a consequence, many students, despite passing the NEET, fail to get admissions in PG medical courses.
"The medical institutions spend huge money in creating the infrastructure for providing quality education and if not utilised, then it is a waste which is detrimental to the interest of both the institution and the student," Bharuka argued.
The medical universities/colleges had already made representations to the DGHS to grant permission for one additional round of counseling, but to no avail, and thus, moved the top court.
Deemed universities contended that they were given five days - May 27 to May 31 - to complete the PG admissions in Stray Vacancy Round, which was insufficient.
"The students travel from various parts of the country to join PG courses and take a decision after looking at the infrastructure and other facilities of the institutions. Many students could not reach in time, and this led to many vacant seats in medical colleges across the country," they said in their petition.