Gujarat HC issues directions for common counselling by State for management quota seats in Ayurveda Colleges

Gujarat High Court: The High Court recently quashed the Rules framed under the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act, 2007 permitting common counselling for admissions to management quota seats in the courses of Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery (BAMS), Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine & Surgery (BHMS) Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.Sc. Nursing).

The petition was filed by Association of Self Financed Ayurveda Colleges of Gujarat challenging the validity of certain rules which had empowered the Admission Committee to conduct the counselling for admissions to government quota as well as management quota seats. The Petitioners submitted that the Rules were ultra vires the parent Act, which bifurcates seats between the state quota and management quota in the ratio of 75:25 as per the ruling of Supreme Court in PA Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 6 SCC 537. It was further contended by the petitioners that the impugned provisions were infringing their right to conduct admissions to the management quota seats, as was the trend in the past.

On the other hand, the State responded that it had discontinued the Gujarat Common Entrance Test and adopted NEET for all professional medical educational courses. Learned Advocate General also submitted that the rules were framed to extend the benefits to the student community at large, in view of the widespread complaints pertaining to malpractices by unaided institutions. It refuted the contention of the petitioners that it was infringing their right stating that Rules do not deprive the institutes of any right as the petitioners would still be able to collect the fees as fixed by the regulatory authority for the management quota seats.

Counselling, AG averred, was no where related to the autonomy of the colleges to admit students. The Court did not agree with the State’s contention and noted that during the process of counselling, as per the choice of the student and having regard to the rank acquired in the NEET, admissions will be granted by the admission committee and thus, it is difficult to accept that counseling has nothing to do with the admission process.

The Court further refused to accept the contention that the presence of a representative of the colleges on the Admission Committee would make any difference. It observed, “In that view of the matter, by framing the rules under the guise of common counselling, without amending the provision of the Act, it is not open for the State to make such rules traversing beyond the scope of substantive provision under the Act itself. If the impugned rules are allowed to stand, it makes clear that they supplant the provisions of the Act but not to subserve the implementation of the provisions of the Act.”

The Division Bench comprising R. Subhash Reddy, C.J. and  Vipul M. Pancholi, J. held that the Rules were ultra vires the parent Act, and observed that the impugned rules were clearly taking away the power of autonomy conferred on private unaided medical institutes by virtue of S.6 parent Act. The Court then went on to direct the following:-

(i) It directed that for the purpose of filling up the management seats, members of the petitioners Associations shall form a Consortium for admissions to different types of courses or one Consortium may work for more than one course.

(ii) The Consortium as per the directions shall by invite applications for admissions admission to Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery (BAMS), Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine & Surgery (BHMS) Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.Sc. Nursing) in the management quota seats and the advertisement must specify all the necessary details.

(iii) The Consortium shall also make necessary arrangements to issue and receive application forms for admission in the management quota seats in the office of the Admission Committee.

(iv) All the management quota seats shall be filled up by Consortium by a single window system on the basis of inter-se merit list of the students to be admitted against management seats and whose names appear in the merit list prepared by the Admission Committee.

(v) The management quota seats shall be filled strictly in accordance with the merit list prepared by the Admission Committee. If admissions are not made in the management quota seats in any college by not following the inter-se merit list of the students to be admitted against the management quota seats, it is open to such students to approach the competent authority for taking appropriate action against such colleges and in such event, it is open to the appropriate authority to take such steps against such colleges in accordance with law. [Association of Self Financed Ayurveda Colleges of Gujarat v. State of Gujarat, Special Civil Application No. 12829 of 2017, decided on 02.08.2017]

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