NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Centre's reply on a plea preferred by NEET-UG aspirants challenging the Centre's decision refusing to lower the percentile for qualification of NEET-BDS courses for the academic session 2021-22.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Sanjiv Khanna, and Surya Kant issued notice to the Centre and sought its reply on specific points like the total number of eligible candidates after deducting the admission granted for MBBS courses and BDS courses, the total number of vacant seats in All India Quota and State Quota and the total number of seats available in government colleges and private and deemed colleges.
The bench also sought to know the reasons from the Centre for not allowing it to lower the percentile in wake of available seats in government and private/deemed colleges.
At the outset, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, submitted a note to the bench and said that after the preparation of the note, the results have been declared for all stray vacancies and 111 seats in government colleges have been allotted.
She said that the figures given in the chart are not accurate as they have received the updated figures just before the hearing of the plea and it says that out of 20,000 seats only around 9000 seats have been filled up.
The bench said that even the Dental Council of India in its letter dated April 6, has acknowledged the vacancies and said that out of 20,000 seats only around 9000 seats have been filled.
Bhati said that they will file a comprehensive affidavit giving the exact number of figures about the number of students who applied and the seats which have been filled in government and private/deemed colleges.
The bench said that even in 2019-20 and 2020-21 there were vacant seats even after the lowering of percentiles and there must be some reason why this is happening.
Petitioners who are NEET-UG aspirants said that they had not obtained the minimum marks and therefore could not qualify as eligible candidates for admission into the BDS courses.
The plea said that the Dental Council of India has recommended reducing the cut-off percentile concerning the examination by 10 percentile.
On April 29, the top court had asked the Centre to consider its decision to not lower the cut-off marks for admissions to Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) while taking note that over 9000 seats are vacant.
It had also taken note of the fact that the last date for BDS admissions has been extended to May 15 from April 11 and the Dental Council of India has recommended the Centre reduce the cut-off marks.
The top court was hearing a PIL of aspiring dentists who had appeared in the NEET-UG examinations for conducting a fresh mop-up round counselling based on the reduced cut-off marks as recommended by the Dental Council to fill up the vacant seats in the colleges for the academic session of 2021-22.
Senior advocate PS Patwalia, appearing for the aspirants, had submitted that till date out of the 27,698 seats around 9000 are still vacant for the BDS courses and referred to earlier decisions of the government when it had lowered the cut-off marks including in 2019-20.
The Centre had earlier said that a decision was taken on April 8 to not reduce the cut-off marks so as to not compromise the standards.