PG med seats: SC declines to quash 10-yr criterion

The Supreme Court has declined to consider a plea by a group of MBBS and BDS doctors, who passed out from the Karnataka colleges, challenging the validity of the state government rules mandating 10 years of academic study for a candidate to qualify for admission to 50% institutional seats in post graduate courses in private medical colleges.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah refused to pass any order, saying “the admission to this academic year has already been completed.”

The petitioners, led by K Sourabh, challenged validity of eligibility criteria published on March 16, 2019 by the Karnataka Examinations Authority, saying it has imposed domicile condition on the candidates, which was contrary to the apex court’s orders. The SC had set aside identical conditions in 2014-15 and 2018-19 for being violative of right to equality.

The petitioners have qualified in the NEET-PG 2019, after completing their MBBS and BDS courses from Karnataka’s medical colleges.

Some of the candidates, belonging to other states, who got admission to undergraduate courses in Karnataka colleges on the basis of 15% all-India seats, felt disadvantaged with the notification as they stood to lose chances on
admission to 50% institutional seats.

They sought a direction to quash the condition which stated that the candidate must have mandatorily studied for 10 academic years from class I and 12 for being eligible for admission to 50% institutional seats in private medical colleges in Karnataka.

The Karnataka government, for its part, relied upon the 2013 orders that allowed reservation on the basis of domicile requirement in six districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

However, by an amended writ petition, they contended that the Karnataka Educational Institutions (Regulations of Admission in Hyderabad-Karnataka Region) order, 2013 and the Karnataka Private Unaided Educational Institutions (Regulations of Admission in the Hyderabad-Karnataka Region) order, 2013 shall operate subject to the Indian Medical Council Act and Regulations framed by the Medical Council India, so far as medical education was concerned.

The PG aspirants then sought a direction to quash the 2013 orders, which were relied upon by the Karnataka government to defend its eligibility criteria published on March 16, 2019.

They claimed in the garb of giving reservation for people from backward area of Hyderabad-Karnataka region, the state government has provided reservation in admission to post graduate medical and dental courses in the entire state to all persons having minimum 10 year of residence, which was impermissible in law.

The petitioners cited Dr Pradeep Jain case (1984), wherein the SC had held in MBBS course, 85% seats were already reserved on the basis of domicile, but in PG courses, the admission should be on the basis of merit alone without any domicile requirement.

They said the state government’s reliance upon 2013 orders was an “after-thought” even though those would operate only in medical colleges of Bidar, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal and Ballari - for the residents of only six districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

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