College bungles admission dates, blames it on swine flu

May 16, 2012, 06:58 IST | Samarth Moray

Medical student moves court after board negates his enrollment in institute since he was admitted after deadline; institute ascribes mix-up to swine flu; HC calls it a 'lame excuse'

A Mazgaon-based medical student, whose enrollment in a Pune institute was hanging in the balance after the board nullified it saying that the institute admitted him after the cut-off date, received some relief from the High Court last week, which chided the institute for the goof-up. The court snubbed the institute’s justification that it admitted the 28-year-old afterward since it could not get any candidates within the deadline set by the board due to the swine flu panic. 

‘Degree’ of uncertainty: The Bombay High Court ultimately dismissed the petition, observing possibility of ‘mutual adjustment’. file pic 

The petition
According to Dr Sardar Mukhtar Tabish’s petition, the Lokmanya Medical Foundation published an ad for a diploma course in radiology on July 14, 2009, saying that the last date for enrollment was August 14. However, the ad allegedly failed to draw in any student due to the flu scare gripping the city, the institute told the court. So the LMF issued a second ad on August 22, eight days after the last date of enrollment. Tabish responded to the second ad. Though the cut-off date had passed, the LMF allowed him provisional admission on September 10. They did not charge him any fees, since that would require the National Board of Examinations to recognise his registration. And as far as the board was concerned, the last date of admission had already elapsed. 

To Tabish’s surprise, the board refused to recognise him as a student on the grounds that he was admitted after the cut-off date. The board contended that it had published a notice specifying that August 14 was the last date, and that all admissions were provisional until the board approved of them. After Tabish challenged the rejection in the High Court in 2010, it directed that the status quo be maintained.

A division bench comprising justices SA Bobde and Mridula Bhatkar observed, “[LMF] cannot be absolved from its wrong of admitting a student beyond the cut-off date. The reason of spread of swine flu is a lame excuse and cannot justify the delay. [It is a] responsible institution which is supposed to be fully aware of the directions/guidelines laid down [by the board].” The court ultimately dismissed Tabish’s petition in a judgement last Monday, observing, “A possibility of mutual adjustment between [Tabish] and the [LMF] cannot be overruled.” 

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