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Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said the decision of the government and the Medical Council to not conduct special stray round of counselling for All India Quota in NEET-PG-2021 cannot be said to be arbitrary, and dismissed a batch of petitions seeking to fill the vacant 1,456 seats.

A vacation bench of Justices M R Shah and Aniruddha Bose said there cannot be any compromise with the quality of medical education which will affect public health.

The top court said the decision of the government and the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) not to allow special stray round is in the interest of medical education and public health.

The apex court said the students cannot pray for admission to the vacant seats, which are mostly non-clinical, after approximately one year of the academic session and after eight to nine rounds of counselling.

The top court had on Thursday said there has to be a limit to the stray round of counselling for All India Quota in NEET-PG-21 and the students cannot be given admission by compromising with the education and health of people.

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) had informed the top court on Wednesday that it has concluded four rounds of online counselling for NEET-PG-21 and it cannot fill 1,456 seats by conducting a special stray round of counselling as the software stands closed.

On Wednesday, the apex court had pulled up the MCC for leaving more than 1,450 seats vacant in NEET-PG-21, saying it will not only put the aspirants in difficulty but would also lead to a dearth of doctors.

The batch of petitions has been filed by doctors who appeared in NEET-PG 2021-22 examination and participated in Rounds 1 and 2 of the All India Quota (AIQ) Counselling and State Quota Counselling which was followed by All India Mop-Up and State Mop-Up Rounds and concluded on May 7 by the MCC post the All India Stray Vacancy Round.

One of the petitions filed by Dr Astha Goel and others through advocate Tanvi Dubey said on April 18, vide a notification, the MCC declared that there existed 323 vacant seats in UG Counselling, and in order to make sure that these precious seats do not go waste, they would be conducting a Special Stray Round for the same.

The plea said it is pertinent to mention here that this is a practice that has been followed by the MCC previously wherein Special Stray Rounds for UG and PG have been conducted in order to ensure that seats don’t go vacant. However, this wasn’t followed this year.

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