Over 500 medical students lose seats in 17 colleges
IN LIMBO MCI has alleged that the colleges admitted students directly, violating a Supreme Court order
Medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) has cancelled the admission of 519 MBBS students enrolled in 17 colleges and attending classes for last three months.
MCI has alleged that the colleges admitted students directly, violating a Supreme Court order of September 28, 2016, directing the state government to hold centralised counselling and allot colleges to students based on their performance in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
“While scrutinising t he admissions process, we found that 17 colleges in three states have given direct admission to 519 students in violation of the SC order,” a senior MCI official said in response to an RTI application filed by this correspondent.
The matter was being investigated and more admission cancellations were expected. This is also the first time that such a large number of students have been asked to leave the MBBS programme for not complying with the admissions process.
The highest number of violations were in Uttar Pradesh by 14 colleges giving direct admission to 481 students. Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have one college each with 38 students admitted in total.
The medical colleges involved defended their move to admit the students, saying the counselling process was very slow and filing up seats by the admission deadline (October, 7, 2016, in this case) was not possible. That was when they decided to give direct admission instead of letting seats go vacant, college authorities said.
KK Aggarwal, president, Indian Medical Association, a body of medical practitioners, demands strict action against the colleges. “MCI should initiate strict action against the colleges for playing with the careers of hundreds of students and maligning the medical profes- sion,” he says.
However, Aggarwal doesn’t want any sympathy with the students as well. “They are party to the violation. Cancellation of admission is a right decision,” Aggarwal. Students informed about cancellation of their admissions by the Medical Council of India allege they have been misguided by their medical colleges.
Himanshu Mishra, 25, is among the 519 students who received discharge notices from MCI. An MBBS student in a college near Lucknow since October 7, 2016, he received the admission cancellation notice on January 27 this year.
“I am not eligible for the N at i o n a l E l i g i b i l i t y c u m Entrance Test (NEET) because the government has fixed 25 years as the upper age to appear in NEET,” he says.
Komal, 21, from Agra too is devastated to lose her seat. “Why is MCI taking action against just us? Why has no action been taken against colleges that played with our careers,” she asks.
Dr ( Major) Gulshan Garg ( retd), chair man, Sankalp Charitable Trust, on the petition of which the Supreme Court had ordered implementation NEET, sides with the colleges. “NEET was implemented for the first time in 2016 and counselling was not streamlined. Our country has an acute shortage of doctors. If colleges took admission directly, I think students should not be victimised for that.”
Garg blames all director generals – medical education of the states concerned for the mess, but the chairman, monitoring committee, MCI, Prof Raj Bahadur, disagrees with him.
“We cannot allow the colleges to circumvent the admission process. Both students and colleges have breached the law,” says Bahadur, who is also vice chancellor of the Baba Farid University, Faridkot.
The director general – medical education in Uttar Pradesh didn’t respond to this correspondent’s mail.
A senior health ministry official says such admissions can be termed ‘backdoor entry’ to medical colleges and deserve to be cancelled. “Clearing NEET is not the only criteria to get the admission. More than 3.5 lakh students passed the NEET exam, but only 60,000 seats are available,” he adds. Applications are invited for the next round of Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowships. These are awarded for doctoral research, designed for Indian scholars who are registered for a PhD at an Indian institution and postdoctoral research, designed for Indian faculty and researchers who are in the early stages of their research careers in India.
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The matter is being investigated and more admission cancellations were expected.