SC quashes state domicile clause

In a setback to the Karnataka government, the Supreme Court has termed as unconstitutional a 10-year domicile clause in the post-graduate entrance examinations test brochures that excludes candidates from other states from appearing for the entrance test even if they have passed their MBBS and BDS courses from colleges within the state.

A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and F M I Kallifullah allowed writ petitions filed by Vishal Goyal and others, who claimed that they had been debarred from taking the entrance test in view of Sub-clause (a) of Clause 2.1 of two information bulletins.

According to the provision, a candidate who has studied and passed out from one or more government recognised educational institution/s located in Karnataka for a minimum period of 10 academic years as on the last date fixed for the submission of application form was eligible to apply to write the entrance test.

The clause explained that a candidate must be of “Karnataka origin” to be eligible to appear for the entrance test, which the petitioners claimed was violation of their fundamental right to equality.

They also contended that the apex court had already held that a certain percentage of seats must be reserved on the basis of institutional preference to enable students who have passed MBBS or BDS courses from medical or dental colleges in Karnataka to get admission to state post graduate medical or dental courses.

The Karnataka government counsel, however, claimed that the state also has a quota of seats in the private medical and dental colleges and the seats for post graduate medical and dental courses that fall in the state quota can be filled up by the state from among the candidates of Karnataka origin.

He also contended that the Constitution allows reservation of a proportion of seats in educational and vocational training institutions in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region for students who belonged to that region by birth or by domicile.

Rejecting the state government’s contention, the bench said, “Sub-clause (a) of Clause 2.1 of the two information bulletins does not actually give institutional preference to students who have passed MBBS or BDS from colleges or universities in Karnataka, but makes some of them ineligible to take the entrance test for admission to post graduate medical or dental courses in Karnataka to which the information bulletins apply.”

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