The Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the mop-up round counselling held for All India Quota (AIQ) of the NEET-PG courses for the year 2021-22, and ordered a fresh mop-up round.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y Chandrachud and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Bela Trivedi said that for 146 seats, which became available after the AIQ round 2 on March 16, 2022, a special round of counselling shall be conducted.
The bench added these candidates can avail the benefit of extra 146 seats, which were added to the pool.
It said the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) will invite interest for options from students within 24 hours and wrap up the proceedings within 72 hours. The top court said a fresh mop round will be conducted for AIQ seats, and the process should not take more than two weeks.
The top court clarified that those candidates, who have joined in round 2 of state quota, will not be eligible to participate for fresh mop-up round.
The bench added that students who joined in AIQ or state quota, will be eligible to participate in the special round of counselling without any financial penalty.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court asked the DGHS to reconsider the decision of adding 146 new seats, as it directed the central government to maintain status quo till Thursday on the mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling.
The bench had expressed concern at two aspects - the addition of 146 new seats in government college, and the lack of uniform application of March 16, notice of the Medical Counselling Committee barring students who took admissions in state quota from participating in the mop-up round for the All India quota. The bench said the DGHS should examine the issue.
On March 28, the Supreme Court sought response from DGHS on petitions filed by various groups of doctors seeking participation in mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing some petitioners, submitted before the apex court that after the second round of counselling, his clients were allotted the seats and later DGHS issued two notices to bring into the pool some seats which were not available to them. Sankaranarayanan said hundreds of seats were added to the pool as a result people not on merit were given seats, which were not available to his clients.
Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, representing another set of petitioners, submitted that people who were much lower in rank than his clients will get better discipline.
The bench noted that staying the process of counselling will be a very extreme step. It added, "If we cancel the seats, then we will have to cancel all the admissions, which would further delay the whole processa..".
The apex court order came on petitions filed by a group of doctors seeking to participate in mop-up round of NEET-PG 2021-22 counselling. A group of petitioners contended that after round one of the counselling, they joined a discipline, but were not allowed to upgrade in round two. They sought permission to appear in the mop-up round.