SC rejects TN doctors' plea for in service' quota in PG degree admissions

Apex court dismissed application for interim relief to stay Regulation 9(4) and (8) of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations.

New Delhi: In a huge setback to doctors serving in Tamil Nadu government hospitals, the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition seeking a direction demanding exclusive quota for ‘in service doctors’ in admission to post graduate medical degree courses.

A five judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan dismissed an application for interim relief to stay Regulation 9(4) and (8) of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, which provide for such reservation to in-service doctors in post graduate diploma courses and not for degree courses. The application also sought a direction to allow the Tamil Nadu government to have 50 per cent quota for ‘in-service doctors’.

Under this Regulation an incentive of upto 10 per cent of the marks obtained for each year of service in remote and/or difficult areas or Rural areas upto maximum of 30 per cent marks obtained in National Eligibility-cum Entrance Test are provided to such candidates for post graduate diploma course.

Writing the judgment Justice Chandrachud rejected the contention that Tamil Nadu has been following the pattern of reservation in respect of 50 per cent of State Quota for the in-service candidates from 2007 and it should not be disturbed.

The court said grant of any interim relief at the present stage would amount to a mandatory final order which cannot be countenanced. The MCI has, as an expert body, proceeded on a principled basis. The proviso to Rule 9(IV) does not contemplate a reservation for in-service candidates in post-graduate courses but the grant of incentive marks.

The bench therefore said prescribing a separate source of entry for in-service degree candidates would directly result in a lowering of standards in medical education. Agreeing with MCI, the bench said if the state is allowed to have a separate quota for in service candidates, merit would be compromised. Any attempt at this stage to read into Regulation 9(IV), a separate source of entry or a reservation for in-service candidates in degree courses would impinge upon the regulatory powers of MCI.

On the contention that state is not denuded of its power to frame a policy for admission, the bench said the term ‘reservations’ referred to in the opening sentence of the Regulations are obviously constitutional reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and not those for in-service candidates.

The bench while rejecting the plea, however, clarified that the counseling which takes place shall ultimately abide by the result of the present writ petition.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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