(1.)This appeal filed by the Medical Council of India (in short the 'MCI') raises important questions regarding desirability of belated admissions to medical colleges in different courses, both pre-graduate and post-graduate. The questions assume importance because filing a large number of petitions before various High Courts and this Court has become an annual feature. When time of admission to medical courses arrives, immediately comes to mind Shakespeares' Othello, where it was written "Chaos is come again". Inevitable result is that considerable time is lost by candidates chasing vires instead of virus. This Court in Convenor, MBBS/BDS Selection Board and others v. Chandan Mishra and others (1995 Supp (3) SCC 77) observed as follows :
". . . . . .The learned Judges of the High Court, if we may say so in a well-considered opinion expressed their anguish at the insensitivity of the authorities administering medical admission in the State to the need to prevent occasions for repetitive grievances from the student community and had occasion to observe:
"Shakespeare in Othello has written "Chaos is come again". This Court has witnessed chaos almost annually when time for admission to MBBS/BDS courses came. . ."
(2.)Factual position leading to the appeal, which is almost undisputed, needs to be noted in some detail.
(3.)For admission into the MBBS course relating to the Session 1997-98, combined entrance competitive examination was held in the State of Bihar on 3-8-1997. The examination was conducted by the Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive Examination Board (in short the 'Board'). A combined merit list for the MBBS course and BDS course was published on 7-10-1997 for the aforesaid session. Respondent No. 1 was one of the candidate who appeared at the said examination. She was, however, not selected for the MBBS course, but she was given option to join the Dental Course. She accepted the option given and she was admitted. Her serial number was 4 in the general category. After the first counseling which was held between the period 26-12-1997 to 31-12-1997, certain seats fell vacant. The Board decided not to fill up such vacancies, which primarily occurred on account of selected candidates abandoning the course or not taking admission. According to the Board, the approach was necessary to maintain the academic calendar and prevent mid-stream admissions. The admissions for the session 1997-98 were completed by the end of January, 1998. Two students who were admitted to the Dential Course like respondent No. 1 filed a Writ Petition before the High Court of Judicature at Patna (CWJC No. 5590/98), inter alia, praying for a direction to the Controller of Examination to admit them against the vacant seats in MBBS course. The petition was filed on the ground that second counseling was not done and seats were lying vacant after the first counseling. By order dated 4-12-1998, the Patna High Court directed the Controller of Examination to admit the writ petitioners as per the merit list and as per their choice against the four vacancies existing due to non-joining of students, within a period of fortnight from the date of the order. Five more students filed a Writ Petition (CWJC No. 11681/98) making identical prayers as were made in the other writ petition. By order dated 10-3-1999, the High Court directed that all the vacant seats up to 4-12-1998 for the session 1997-98 should be filled up from amongst the eligible candidates as enlisted in the merit list.