New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the vacant seats in the first year of BDS course for the year 2020-21 should be filled by lowering the percentile mark by 10 percentile.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Krishna Murari said: “We direct that the vacant seats in first year BDS course for the year 2020-2021 shall be filled up from the candidates who have participated in the NEET (UG) courses for the year 2020-2021 after lowering the percentile mark by 10 percentile.”
The top court directed that candidates belonging to the general category who have secured 40 percentile shall be eligible to be considered for admission in the first year BDS course for the year 2020-2021. “Likewise, students belonging to the SC/ST/OBC categories shall be qualified if they have secured 30 percentile”, added the bench.
Th bench noted that the Dental Council of India itself recommended for lowering the minimum marks and the Regulations provide for lowering the minimum marks. “We are in agreement with Maninder Singh, learned Senior Counsel for the Petitioners that lowering the minimum marks and reducing percentile for admission to the first-year BDS course would not amount to lowering the standards of education”, said the top court.
National Eligibility-cum Entrance Test (NEET) examination 2020 for admission to the first year of BDS was conducted on September 13, last year. Petitioners who did not obtain the minimum marks moved the top court aggrieved by non-acceptance of their representation seeking a lower cut-off.
The Centre submitted that there are seven candidates available for each seat and, therefore, there is no need to lower the minimum marks.
The total number of seats available for the academic year 2020-2021 for MBBS are 91,367, BDS are 26,949 and AYUSH are 52,720 making it a total of 1,71,036 seats. Whereas, the NEET qualified candidates are 7,71,500. “The ratio of seats available vis-a-vis eligible students is 1 : 4.5 and not 7. The basis for the decision to not reduce minimum marks that there are sufficient eligible candidates is without considering the above vital facts”, noted the bench.
There are about 7,000 seats available for admission to the first-year BDS course during the year 2020-2021. “We are not impressed by the argument of the learned Additional Solicitor General that there are sufficient number of Dentists in the country and, therefore, there is no harm in the seats being unfilled Only 265 out of 7,000 seats are vacant in government colleges. All the other unfilled seats are in private Dental colleges,” said the top court.
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