Online goof-up: HC comes to aid of medical aspirant

By PTI Published on Jul 20, 2018 11:28 AM IST

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has come to the aid of a girl who was disqualified from an online selection process after she committed an error while filling a form for a MBBS course.

Observing that a meritorious student should not be punished due to a mistake, a division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre recently directed the Commissioner of Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell to allow the student, Shashi Saraswat, to participate in the second round of admission.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Saraswat after she was disqualified from the online selection process, after she committed a mistake while filling the forms.

According to the petition, Saraswat had appeared for the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) and secured All India Rank of 3178.

She then registered herself online for the Health Science course under the Defence 3 quota within the prescribed time limit and was provided a login password for further process.

Saraswat was held eligible in the first merit list and had to then select college preferences online.

However, the petitioner by mistake clicked on the wrong colleges, as per the petition. Instead of selecting colleges which provide MBBS course, Saraswat clicked on nursing colleges.

When she realised her mistake, she approached the CET Cell's office seeking rectification but was denied relief, it stated.

The CET Cell argued that there are only 12 seats available in the Defence 3 category and a total of 73 students had filled the form. It said that ten students have already secured admission after first round of the process.

The second round of admission was on and permitting the petitioner to participate in the process would encroach upon the rights of the remaining students, it argued.

The HC, however, said, "A bonafide exception can be made only to redress the gross injustice to an otherwise meritorious candidate who is the daughter of a defence personnel".

The high court after perusing the rules pertaining to the selection process noted that a candidate can fill the online preference form multiple times before clicking the 'submit' button.

"However, once the 'submit' button is clicked then there is no provision to change the preference. "

The information brochure explains and expects the candidates to be very careful while filling the online preference form and clear instructions are given to the candidates as to the selection of preferences of colleges," the bench stated in the order.

The judges noted that they did not in any way doubt the mechanism followed by the Commissioner of the Common Entrance Test Cell, but said it was confronted with a student like the petitioner who has committed a gross mistake.

The high court said it cannot accept the CET Cell's argument that if the petitioner is permitted to participate in the admission process at this stage then meritorious students would be kept out of the arena.

The next student who has been allotted a seat under the Defence3 quota has All India Ranking lesser than that of the petitioner, the court said.

"Merely because the petitioner has erred and we emphasise grossly in filling the preference form still the position remains that the merit secured by her would not be wiped and she cannot be thrown out of the process," the order said.

The court permitted the petitioner to participate in the second round of the admission process and select afresh the colleges under Defence3 quota.