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High court turns down PG admission order

A division bench of Calcutta High Court on Thursday set aside an order of a single-judge bench striking down the admission of over 500 doctors to postgraduate courses.

The bench of Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya and Justice Ishan Chandra Das, which overruled the earlier order, directed the West Bengal University of Health Sciences to give Soma Chowdhury, on whose petition the admissions were cancelled, another chance to undergo counselling.

Justice Ashoke Kumar Dasadhikari of the high court had on April 16 passed an order cancelling the admission of all 515 students to various postgraduate diploma and degree courses. He had said in the order there was a software glitch in the online counselling process, which needed to be rectified.

The order cast a shadow on the future of the aspiring specialist doctors, who breathed a sigh of relief after the division bench struck down Justice Dasadhikari’s order. The classes for the diploma and degree courses start in July.

“Since the single-judge bench had passed the order without hearing any of the counsel representing the students who had taken admission to the courses, we are setting aside the order,” Justice Bhattacharya ruled.

The judge, however, asked the university’s lawyer, Aniruddha Chatterjee, to give another chance to petitioner Chowdhury in the second or third counselling seasons. Chowdhury had submitted that the counselling software was flawed as she could not complete the process.

University officials said the software rejected her attempt at registration as she was trying to opt for a diploma course despite being a diploma-holder.

On Thursday, they said manual counselling would be held for Soma if any diploma course seat is available going by the merit list.

“The petitioner (Chowdhury) had ranked 491 in the West Bengal Postgraduate Medical Admission Test. Before giving a chance to the student who has ranked 492, we will surely give the petitioner a chance,” Chatterjee submitted before the division bench.

Vice-chancellor Amit Banerjee said Thursday’s order “exonerated” the university of any wrongdoing.

“We had gone to an accredited agency for developing the software programme and today’s judgment proves that there was nothing wrong with the move. I am happy for the meritorious students who have taken admission to postgraduate courses as they can begin classes,” Banerjee said.

“I was extremely worried as this court case could have ruined another academic year for me. But, thankfully, the division bench’s order has come in time and saved the day,” said a doctor who has ranked fifth in the admission test and secured a postgraduate seat in medicine at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

He was among the 69 students whose admission to the ophthalmology department of the same college had been cancelled in 2012 because of the university’s delay in starting the second round of counselling.

The university had moved the high court on April 18 with an appeal to overturn Justice Dasadhikari’s order. The university had also pleaded for a stay on the order till the case was disposed of.

The bench had on Monday said there was no need to grant any stay as the matter would be disposed of “soon”.

AC technician dies

An AC technician, apparently working under unsafe conditions, died after he fell from the third floor of a building on Shakespeare Sarani. The incident took place around 2.30pm on Thursday.

The deceased has been identified as Rakesh Sau, 32. He was installing an air-conditioner on the third floor of the building when the accident happened.

He sustained injuries on his head and was taken to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.