Del HC | AIIMS 2019 — Candidate producing OBC certificate even one day prior to seat allocation should be able to get a seat allocated

Delhi High Court: Rajiv Shakdher, J. while addressing a petition filed by an AIIMS aspirant, ruled the decision in her favour by stating a very significant point in the Judgment,

“One fact, one circumstance, can make all the difference while discerning the true ratio of a Judgment.”

In the present case, petitioner aggrieved by the fact that she was denied a seat by the respondent i.e. All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) though she was eligible for being considered allotment of a seat in the MBBS Program in OBC Category.

Further, the respondent defended its action by taking recourse to the fact that the certificate evidencing that the petitioner fell in OBC category, falls outside the time frame that is stipulated in Prospectus for MBBS Admission 2019 and to support the same, relied upon Clause 4.1 of the Prospectus.

AIIMS submitted that the certificate produced by a candidate to claim the benefit of the fact that he/she belongs to the OBC category can only arise if it is issued within a period of one year preceding the date of first counselling.

Issue arising in above view:

What is that period which is contemplated in Clause 4.1 of the Prospectus?

It has been stated that, after three rounds of counselling a round of ‘open counselling’ was conducted for the vacant seats for which the petitioner registered herself.  Open Counselling which was initially slated for 20-08-2019 – 21-08-2019 was postponed via notice dated 18-08-2019 to 26-08-2019 – 27-08-2019.

Petitioner secured an OBC certificate dated 19-08-2019 for admittance in Central Institutions. Further, when the petitioner appeared for open counselling on 26-08-2019, she placed before the Counselling Committee, the requisite documents which included the OBC certificate, and to her surprise the Counselling Committee declined to consider her candidature only on the ground that the date on OBC certificate issued to the petitioner did not fall within the time frame stipulated in Clause 4.1 of the Prospectus.

Hearing for the instant matter came up in the Court first time on 30-08-2019, wherein the Court directed AIIMS to keep one OBC category seat vacant in one of the four institutes qua which preference had been given by the petitioner. On a later date i.e. 17-09-2019, Court asked the counsel for AIIMS to file through an affidavit if any seat was available in terms of the order date 30-08-2019, for which the response was that one seat was available in AIIMS, Raipur.

Petitioner argued that the Prospectus made two provisions concerning the OBC certificate’s submission. Following are the two provisions:

  • Clause 3 on Page IV of the Prospectus under the heading ‘Registration and Submission of Application Form’;
  • Clause 4.1 under the heading of ‘Criteria for Other Backward Classes (Non-Creamy Layer) [OBC].

Thus, in accordance with the above-stated clause, petitioner’s candidature should have been considered in terms of Clause r of the Prospectus. A candidate could have only be ousted only if his/her OBC certificate was older than 25-06-2018 given the fact that the first counselling was held on 26-06-2019.

Advocate, Dushyant Parashar representing AIIMS submitted that the petitioner committed a “fraud” by continuing to participate in counselling in the first three rounds when she was aware of the fact that she did not have in her possession a valid OBC certificate. It was stressed that it was only then that it got discovered that the petitioner was not eligible for being considered for allocation of a seat as the OBC certificate was outside the timeframe as provided in Clause 4.1 of the Prospectus.

Decision of the Court

On perusal of the facts and submissions of the parties, the Court analysed the matter and stated that, even according to AIIMS the petitioner met all parameters for grant of admission under the OBC quota except one, which is not having in her possession, an OBC certificate that fell within two ends of the timeframe.

Though Clause 3 of the prospectus provided a different timeframe and thus a candidate could produce an OBC certificate, which was one day prior to the date of the first round of counselling or the seat allocation.

High Court further while deciding the matter in respect to the Clauses of the Prospectus, stated that one can only conclude that there is dissonance between Clause 3 and 4.1 of the Prospectus. While Clause 3 permitted the petitioner to produce an OBC certificate which bore a date one day prior to the first round of counselling, Clause 4.1 restricted the period to one year preceding the date of first counselling.

Hence,

On harmonious reading of Clause 3 and 4.1, one would have to conclude that as long as a candidate can produce an OBC certificate which is one day prior to the seat allocation, the candidate should be able to get a seat allocated for the OBC category.

Therefore, there is no dispute in the instant matter. AIIMS has not found fault with certificate and petitioner’s candidature for OBC seat sought to have been accepted by the Counselling Committee.

Certain significant observations in respect to the case relied on for the matter made by the Court were that,

“It is trite to say that a judgment is binding and authority for what it decided and not what logically follows from it”

“One fact, one circumstance, can make all the difference while discerning the true ratio of a judgment.”

Thus, in the present matter, the petitioner allowed a seat in AIIMS Raipur. [Bhumika Choudhary v. AIIMS, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 10483, decided on 14-10-2019]

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