SC asks NBE to consider holding common counselling for admissions in PG Medical from 2021

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that from next academic year, the National Board of Examination (NBE) should consider having a “common or single online counselling” for admissions in Post Graduate Medical Courses leading to Degrees and Diplomas and the seats in DNB (Diplomate of National Board) courses in the country.

A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and Dinesh Maheshwari, however, refused to order the common counselling for the current academic year to NBE which conducts NEET PG (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for Post Graduate) examination.  

“Since the petitioners have approached the court at a stage where the entire process has been undertaken and many candidates have been allocated various courses in the Counselling, we do not deem it appropriate to pass any direction for the present year.

“However, going by the assertions made in the response filed by the Medical Council of India, we may observe that a common counselling or single online counselling in the coming years would definitely take care of any similar grievance,” the bench said in its judgement.

 The NBE, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, was established to improve the quality of medical education and it conducts postgraduate and postdoctoral examinations. The degree awarded by NBE is called Diplomate of National Board.

DNB is a postgraduate or postdoctoral diploma in which the training lasts for three years and FNB is a fellowship in a sub-speciality where the training lasts for two years.

The apex court noted down the submissions of the NBE and said that the authority was agreeable “in principle” to conduct common counselling from the next year.

“Consequently, while refusing to pass any directions in so far as the present year is concerned, we hope that the authorities will be able to have common counselling for DNB PG seats along with all Post Graduate seats leading to Degrees and Diplomas … for coming years starting with NEETPG 2021 Examination,” it said.

The verdict came on a plea filed by four medical students seeking directions to the Centre, NBE and others to conduct “single counselling” for filling up seats in the PG Medical and DNB Courses.

Alapati Jyotsna and others had secured certain ranks in the NEET PG test and in the counselling, undertaken by the Medical Counselling Committee, they could not get degree courses of their choice.

“Their grievance is that it is only after the regular seats of Post Graduate Courses leading to Degree and Diploma are exhausted that the counselling for DNB courses is undertaken; and those who have secured any seat in courses leading to Degrees and Diplomas are disentitled to lay any claim for DNB courses,” the apex court said while noting down the grievances of students.

The apex court, however, did not allow the plea for common counselling for the current year after taking note of the submissions of NBE and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that the counselling and consequential process of admission were now at an advanced stage.