Appeals for regularization of admission to Dental courses, dismissed

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In an appeal filed by the appellants for regularization of their admission to BDS course, the Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta and Lisa Gill, JJ., held that the admissions cannot be regularized as they had taken place in violation of the regulations provided by the Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutes (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Fee and Making of Reservation) Act, 2006, the Dental Council of India and by the State Government. The Court relying on the decision by the Constitution Bench in Preeti Srivastava v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (1999) 7 SCC 120, upheld the legislative competence of Dental Council of India in framing regulations to supervise the eligibility criteria for admission into medical institutions.

The facts of the case pertained to filling up of vacant seats in private dental colleges of the State which had to be done strictly on the basis of merit and marks obtained in AIPMT and not on the basis of marks obtained in 10+2 examination. It was contended by Rajiv Atma Ram, counsel for the appellants that Dental Council of India was incompetent to frame rules and regulations as decided in State of MP v. Kumari Nivedita Jain, (1981) 4 SCC 296. It was also contended by the appellants that the regulation contemplating competitive entrance examination was merely a directory provision, and that availability of 455 vacant seats was an exceptional circumstance, entitling the private institutions to admit students on the basis of 10+2 examination marks. However, Gurminder Singh, counsel for the Dental Council of India pointed out that the judgment of the aforementioned case stood overruled in Preeti Srivastava’s case.

Perusing the facts of the case, the Court observed that the Regulations laid down by the Dental Council of India, providing for competitive entrance examinations, are mandatory in nature. It was further observed that availability of large number of seats could not be treated as an exceptional circumstance in the wake of inability of the institutions in admitting students as per the terms of statutory regulations. The Court stated that in the appellant-students and the private institutions were informed by a public notice about the deregulation of the admissions so secured. The Court concluded by ordering the private institutes to refund the fee deposited by the students with a compensatory sum of Rs. 50,000 per student for loss of one academic year. Aditi Sharma v. State of Punjab,2015 SCC OnLine P&H 2653 decided on 02.07.2015

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