Supreme Court Stays Gujarat High Court Decision on MBBS Admission Cancellation

Supreme Court intervenes, halts Gujarat High Court's ruling cancelling MBBS admission over SEBC certificate dispute, pending further review.

In a significant development, the Supreme Court intervened on Friday, April 5, halting the Gujarat High Court's decision that affirmed the cancellation of MBBS admission for a student from the 'Teli' caste at the Government Medical College (GMC) in Vadodara. The cancellation stemmed from the rejection of his Social and Economically Backward Certificate (SEBC) in Gujarat.

A bench comprising Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra issued a stay on the judgment, allowing the petitioner to continue his studies at the current college until further notice. Senior Advocate Yatin Oza represented the petitioner.

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The petitioner, hailing from the 'Teli' subcaste in Uttar Pradesh, achieved an impressive score of 613/720 in the NEET UG-examination 2022, despite his father's financial struggles as a panipuri seller. He secured admission in GMC, Vadodara, based on his SEBC certificate.

However, the Scrutiny Committee annulled the SEBC certificate on August 29, 2023, contending that the petitioner did not belong to the recognized 'Teli' caste in Gujarat but rather to a 'Teli' caste categorized differently in Uttar Pradesh. Consequently, the Admission Committee canceled his college admission on September 1, 2023.

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Challenging this decision before the Gujarat High Court, a Single Judge Bench led by Justice Nikhil Kariel upheld the scrutiny committee's decision but favored the petitioner on equitable grounds. Despite the SEBC certificate's invalidation, the judge acknowledged the petitioner's exceptional NEET scores and directed the restoration of his admission seat.

However, in a subsequent Letters Patent Appeal, the division bench, led by Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha P Mayee, upheld the admission cancellation, noting that the petitioner's reliance on the invalid SEBC certificate would unjustly disadvantage genuinely deserving candidates under the reserved category.

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The court expressed disagreement with the exercise of equitable jurisdiction in favor of the petitioner, emphasizing that his admission infringed upon the rights of eligible SEBC candidates in Gujarat.

The Supreme Court, in its observation, noted that the petitioner's eligibility in other colleges under the open category remains unaffected by the SEBC certificate dependency. Even without the SEBC status, the petitioner's merit as a general category candidate would have enabled him to secure admission in several other government medical colleges in Gujarat.

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A similar sentiment was echoed by the single judge, who highlighted that the petitioner's rank of 600 in the open category, compared to 154 with the SEBC benefit, would still warrant consideration for admission in other government medical colleges.

The Supreme Court remarked, "We are in respectful disagreement with the exercise of the equitable jurisdiction conferred on this Court in favor of the Respondent herein, who has secured admission on the basis of the Caste Certificate, which the petitioner was not entitled to and which could not have been otherwise issued by the Competent Officer."

The Court sought responses from the college authorities and the Admission Committee, with the matter scheduled for further hearing in four weeks.

The case, identified as Alpeshkumar Ramsinh Rathod v. Admission Committee for Professional Medical Educational Courses & Ors, bears diary no(s). 14510/2024.