All counselling in private medical colleges in management quota is to be conducted in a centralised manner and the state government will oversee the whole process. Justice Debangshu Basak of Calcutta High Court on Monday gave this ruling based on a Supreme Court order on 22 September.

The admission to private medical colleges for the management quota this year got mired in a controversy following complaints of exorbitantly high capitation fees being charged. The court held the candidates and institutional representatives will have to come together at the same venue for counselling, while any counselling not conducted by the state government is to be cancelled.

The day’s order came following a petition moved by Sreyashi Ghosh and another petitioner alleging corruption in admission process in the management quota and demand for capitation fee in KPC Medical College. On 5 September, Justice Basak had set aside a panel of candidates on "first come first serve" basis by college authorities and held a panel be made on the basis of merit. In an earlier order, Justice Basak had directed that a representative of the state government be present in the counselling process. But, it was alleged that in spite of his presence, a list of the candidates not conforming to the merit list was brought out by the college. Steep capitation fee is being demanded and the admission process in the management quota to the college is non-transparent, appearing for the petitioner, Anindya Lahiri submitted. This is leading to compromise of merit of the candidates as obtained from their list in the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET).

The meritorious candidates are being left out if they cannot shell out steep capitation fees, it was submitted. This is in gross violation of the principle of transparency as the system is not commensurate with imparting medical education. The admission process and counsellng is conducted online in medical colleges in other parts of the country, it was submitted. It is only in West Bengal that the candidates have to be physically present. The petitioners moved court in view of newspaper advertisements placed by agencies claiming that candidates will be able to secure admission if they pay a hefty sum along with tuition fees, it was submitted. In such circumstances, the colleges call the parents and conduct separate interviews with them to secure the "price of admission", it was submitted. This process helps the college authorities to select candidates who can afford to cough up steep capitation fees. This has been a matter of concern all over the country.

The Supreme Court passes orders from time to time to ensure transparency in the medical admission process, it was submitted. PTI adds from Thiruvananthapuram: Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Kerala Assembly on the opening day of its session with the Congress-led UDF Opposition protesting alleged irregularities in the LDF government’s agreement with private medical colleges on admissions and fees. Seeking to move an adjournment motion on the issue, the Opposition members squatted in the Well of the House and raised slogans. As the uproar continued despite his repeated pleas asking the Opposition members to go back to their seats, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan adjourned the House for an hour. When the proceedings resumed, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Health Minister K K Shylaja would hold talks with YC leaders, whose hunger strike entered the seventh day demanding scrapping of the agreement. He warned of action against managements if they tried to sabotage the admission of students from the National Eligibility-cumEntrance Test (NEET).