A division bench of the High Court of Bombay at Goa comprising of Justices Nutan Sardessai and G S Patel in a case related to the MBBS admission of a girl from the Dhangar community observed that the student missed out on an opportunity to be the first girl from the community to study MBBS in the state due to “inflexibility of educational admission processes”.
The court directed the Goa Medical College to admit her in the 2016-17 batch instead of letting a vacant seat to lapse.
The petitioner, Punam Zore belongs to the Dhangar community and is one of five daughters. Her father is an agricultural daily wage labourer who earns not more than Rs 3000, a month. The family is from a village in Dave-Tar Valpoi. Punam did reasonably well in the XII standard science examination and also in the Common Entrance Test conducted by the State of Goa for preparing a merit list to professional degree courses.
Punam thereafter applied for admission to the MBBS course in 2016-2017 and was shortlisted in the merit list at number 38. GMC however in that year had a total of 34 seats for reservation in the OBC category and several students listed from nos 1 to 34 had opted for other courses. Soniya Dongrekar who was the last student in the merit list of OBC candidates was at nos 37 just above Punam in the merit list.
The High Court observed that that there was a student Neha Gouli (respondent no 8) placed at serial no 21 in the merit list who staked a claim to admission in the reserved OBC category. This claim, it is said, was false and on the basis of a fake or illegal birth certificate. Thereafter the respondent no 8 has completely abandoned her admission.
The High Court also observed that since respondent no 8 had demitted her seat there was one seat available where Punam could have been given admission to the course.
The High Court said, “It would be heaping injustice on inequity if, given her background, and given that there is a vacancy, Punam was to be denied the course on the ground that the seat had lapsed. We find it disturbing and that is putting it mildly” Justices G S Patel and Nutan Sardesai said in their order.
“It is for this reason that we say this case is an exception and is in no way a rule. It can never serve as a precedent. We are laying down no law. We are adjusting an equity in the exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution” the High Court clarified.
“Punam Zore will have to make up for the lost time. We will allow her to do so and afford her the opportunity and wish her well in her journey in the hope that if she does succeed, we will be content in having a small role in that success” the High Court ruled while mandating that the GMC admits her as a student in the first year of the ongoing batch which began in the year 2016-2017.