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Stay on 17 SC/ST MBBS seats

Patna, Aug. 27: The high court today stayed admission against 17 MBBS seats marked under SC/ST category.

The test (Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive Examination 2014), was conducted by the Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive Examination Board (BCECEB) early this year. The order was passed by the single bench of Justice Birendra Prasad Verma.

Senior advocate Y.V. Giri told the court that during the first and second round of counselling, 48 SC/ST students were selected by the BCECEB to be allotted MBBS seats. These 48 candidates were even allotted colleges for admission into the MBBS course.

However, in the third revised list that BCECEB came out with on August 28, 2014, the names of these 48 successful candidates were omitted. Of these 48 candidates, 42 belong to SC category while the rest are from the ST category.

The plea forwarded by the BCECEB in leaving out these 48 candidates was that all of them had secured below 40 per cent in the written test conducted by the board and hence they were not selected for the course. The deletion of names of these 48 SC/ST candidates was later denounced by the State Commission for Schedule Castes, Bihar, which alleged that by deleting the names of these candidates, the BCECEB has violated SC/ST Atrocities Act, 1989, and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995. The commission also demanded a high-level inquiry into the whole episode.

Later, 17 of these candidates had filed a writ petition in the high court challenging the BCECEB discretion of leaving out SC/ST candidates for admission into the MBBS course. The petitioners stated in their PIL that the prospectus advertised by the BCECEB for the examination and the Bihar Reservation Act, 2003, also speaks of providing relief to the SC/ST candidates in special circumstances.

The petitioners, citing the aforesaid act and the prospectus, stated in their petition that amendment should be made in the cut-off marks, which stands at 40 per cent.

The petitioners counsel told the court that BCECEB had even ignored its own prospectus while deleting names of these 48 SC/ST candidates and that all the seats reserved for SC/ST categories were filled up by general candidates.

The petitioners cited the example of Jharkhand where relief was provided to the SC/ST candidates by the Jharkhand government while making admission to MBBS course.

They also cited example of NEET UG Examination 2003 and AIPMT 2008 examination where similar relief were provided by the Bihar government to the SC/ST candidates for admission to MBBS course. Hearing arguments from both the petitioners and the state, the bench on Wednesday put a stay on the admission against these 17 seats till the next hearing of the case, which has been fixed on September 5.

Hailing the court order, Tariq, an aspirant said: “We welcome the court’s decision to stay the admission against the SC/ST seats. The provisions of SC/ST Atrocities Act, 1989, and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995, should be kept intact. The whole episode reeks of insensitiveness on the part of the state government, which we will not tolerate.”