10-year study rule for PG med courses invalid: SC

10-year study rule for PG med courses invalid: SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared as invalid, a Karnataka government's notification bringing in 10-year study in the state as a condition for candidates to get admission to government quota seats in postgraduate courses in medical colleges.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit directed the state government and Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) to "suitably modify and amend" the Information Bulletin of March 10 and republish the calender of events for the admission process for NEET-PG 2018.

The eligibility criteria, among others, for government quota seats included candidates must be of Karnataka origin and either of their parents must have resided or studied in the state for a minimum of 10 years.

The top court allowed a writ petition filed by Dr Kriti Lakhina and 43 other candidates, who belonged to other states but completed their MBBS and BDS courses from Karnataka's medical colleges after securing their admission on the basis of all-India quota. They contended the condition of domicile for admission to MD, MS and postgraduate Diploma seats in Karnataka was invalid and unconstitutional.

The state government, for its part, maintained it was within its right to formulate eligibility conditions to give preference to candidates who were most likely to serve the state.

It also claimed these eligibility conditions were stipulated to meet the requirement of skilled human resources. It also contended the Post-Graduate Medical Education
Regulation, 2000 of Medical Council of India do not prohibit the state from stipulating eligibility conditions for PG courses.

Opposing the contention, the MCI pointed out Karnataka government had brought a similar Information Bulletin in 2014 with identical eligibility criteria, which the apex court had set aside in the case of 'Vishal Goyal' saying
preference based on domicile would be violative of the principle of equality.

The court had then agreed that the Information Bulletin for PGET-2014 did not actually give institutional preference to students who had passed MBBS/BDS from colleges or universities in Karnataka but made some of them ineligible to take the entrance test. It had then held the said clause as ultra vires of Article 14 (equality) of the Constitution and declared the conditions as null and void.

"We respectfully follow the decision of this court in 'Vishal Goyal' and hold Clause 4.1 of the Information Bulletin (PGET-2018) to be invalid to the extent it disqualifies petitioners and similarly situated candidates who completed their MBBS/BDS Degree Courses from colleges situated in Karnataka from competing for admission to Post-Graduate Medical/Dental Courses in government medical colleges and against government quota seats in non-governmental institutions," the bench said.

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