SC on cases involving disputes related to admissions in MBBS course

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 13th December 2019, in the matter of S. Krishna Sradha v. The State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. laid down guidelines in cases where  a meritorious candidate/student who has been denied an admission in MBBS Course illegally or irrationally by the authorities for no fault of his/her and who has approached the Court in time.

Question(s) before the Hon’ble Supreme Court / Court’s Observation:

What relief a meritorious candidate is entitled to when it is found that a meritorious candidate is denied an admission arbitrary and illegally by the concerned authorities and the fault is not attributable to the candidate at all and the candidate has pursued his/her legal rights expeditiously and without delay, whether in such a situation awarding compensation only can be said to be just and an adequate relief? Whether having fulfilled the aforesaid pre­ requisites, the Court can grant relief and order admission even after the cut­off date for admission is over and whether the Court can grant admission beyond the intake either in the same year or in the next academic year?

The aforesaid question is required to be considered only to the cases where (i) no fault is attributable to the candidate; (ii) the candidate has pursued her rights and legal remedies expeditiously and without delay; (iii) where there is fault on the part of the authorities and apparent breach of rules and regulations; and (iv) candidate is found to be more meritorious then the last candidate who has been given admission. (Para 8)

In such cases, denial of fair treatment to the candidate would not only violate his/her right under Article 14 but would seriously jeopardize his/her right under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. A natural corollary of declaring that an administrative act more particularly the denial of admission illegally and for no fault of a candidate/student violates principles of Article 14 is that the citizen injured must be put back to his/her original position. In that sense, the primary relief is restitutionary. (Para 8.2)

Compensation could be an additional remedy but not a substitute for restitutionary remedies. (Para 8.2)

In case of medical admissions, even the restitutionary remedy of providing a seat in the subsequent year would lead to loss of one full academic year to a meritorious candidate, which cannot be compensated in real terms. Thus compensation for loss of year could be provided, but denial of admissions to a meritorious candidate cannot be compensated in monetary terms. Thus denial of admission in medical course to a meritorious candidate for no fault of his/her and though he/she has approached the Court in time and despite the same not granting any just and equitable relief would be denial of justice. Therefore, the question is what relief the Court can grant by which right to equal and fair treatment to a candidate are protected and at the same time neither there is injustice to other candidate/student and even compromising with the quality education. Therefore, a balance is required to be struck. (Para 8.2)

Even granting a relief to such a candidate/student in the next academic year and to accommodate him/her in the next year and in the sanctioned intake may even affect the right of some other candidate/student seeking admission in the next academic year and that too for no fault of his/her. Therefore in the exceptional and in the rarest of rare cases, the Court can grant exceptional relief to the candidate of granting admission even after the cut-off date is over. (Para 8.2)

A meritorious candidate/student who has been denied an admission in MBBS Course illegally or irrationally by the authorities for no fault of his/her and who has approached the Court in time and so as to see that such a meritorious candidate may not have to suffer for no fault of his/her.

(Para 9)

  • In a case where candidate/student has approached the court at the earliest and without any delay and that the question is with respect to the admission in medical course all the efforts shall be made by the concerned court to dispose of the proceedings by giving priority and at the earliest.
  • Under exceptional circumstances, if the court finds that there is no fault attributable to the candidate and the candidate has pursued his/her legal right expeditiously without any delay and there is fault only on the part of the authorities and/or there is apparent breach of rules and regulations as well as related principles in the process of grant of admission which would violate the right of equality and equal treatment to the competing candidates and if the time schedule prescribed, is over, to do the complete justice, the Court under exceptional circumstances and a and under no circumstances, the Court shall order any Admission in the same year. However, it is observed that such relief can be granted only in exceptional circumstances and in the rarest of rare cases. In case of such an eventuality, the Court may also pass an order cancelling the admission given to a candidate who is at the bottom of the merit list of the category who, if the admission would have been given to a more meritorious candidate who has been denied admission illegally, would not have got the admission, if the Court deems it fit and proper, however, after giving an opportunity of hearing to a student whose admission is sought to be cancelled.
  • In case the Court is of the opinion that no relief of admission can be granted to such a candidate in the very academic year and wherever it finds that the action of the authorities has been arbitrary and in breach of the rules and regulations or the prospectus affecting the rights of the students and that a candidate is found to be meritorious and such candidate/student has approached the court at the earliest and without any delay, the court can mould the relief and direct the admission to be granted to such a candidate in the next academic year by issuing appropriate directions by directing to increase in the number of seats as may be considered appropriate in the case and in case of such an eventuality and if it is found that the management was at fault and wrongly denied the admission to the meritorious candidate, in that case, the Court may direct to reduce the number of seats in the management quota of that year, meaning thereby the student/students who was/were denied admission illegally to be accommodated in the next academic year out of the seats allotted in the management quota.
  • Grant of the compensation could be an additional remedy but not a substitute for restitutional remedies. Therefore, in an appropriate case the Court may award the compensation to such a meritorious candidate who for no fault of his/her has to lose one full academic year and who could not be granted any relief of admission in the same academic year.
  • It is clarified that the aforesaid directions pertain for Admission in MBBS Course only and not Post Graduate Medical Course.

Copy of judgement: Judgement_13-Dec-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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