MBBS graduates found guilty of accepting money to block post-graduate (PG) seats in medical colleges will face legal action, said a notice issued by Union health ministry on Wednesday.
While blocking of seats post counselling is a common complaint — 3,000 of the 5,000 PG seats under the 15% all India quota (AIQ) with the Centre were not taken and went back to the states — this is the first time the health ministry has warned of legal action, including forfeiting the security deposit and become ineligible for counselling from second round onwards.
“We have received several complaints of candidates blocking seats with no intention of doing the course. This is sort of cartelization and unacceptable. Since money is involved, it becomes a criminal offence and candidates found guilty can be booked under the Indian Penal Code,” said a senior health ministry official.
The ministry is tracking the more than 1,000 students who have not joined after being allotted colleges in the first round of counselling that was held between March 17 and April 5.
“Sometimes, there’s a genuine reason for a student to opt for the second round of AIQ counselling – for example, if they don’t like the college – but we are focusing on those who are blocking seats despite having secured admission under the state quota,” said the official.
Anxious students are flooding health ministry with email queries on counselling, with the ministry receiving 800 emails over 10 days.
The counselling schedule was revised to ensure admissions in all colleges except deemed universities gets over by May 18. Counselling for AIQ seats will not be postponed even if the states don’t complete counselling. Also, there will be no exemption whatsoever from common counselling.
Antiquated software was adding to the confusion. The dates of all India counselling were revised to upgrade the software to remove glitches and give candidates the option of revising their choice.
“A common software is being used by health ministry for admission to all medical colleges this year and it’s been proposed that the ministry admit for counselling three times the number of seats available to ensure the unfilled seats don’t go back to the state,” he said.
Students who are dependents of NRIs can get admission under the NRI quota in deemed universities after furnishing relevant documents.
Experts say implementing a project of such large scale perfectly can take time. “We have to maintain the quality of doctors, and common entrance exam and counselling will go a long way in achieving that,” says Dr KK Talwar, former chairman Medical Council of India.