100 percent domicile reservation for PG medical Admissions matter pending before SC: HC disposes plea

Published On 2021-09-27 04:00 GMT   |   Update On 2021-09-27 04:00 GMT

Jabalpur: Taking note of the fact that the matter of 100% Domicile reservation for PG medical admission in Madhya Pradesh has already been referred to the Larger Bench of the Supreme Court, the Madhya Pradesh High Court recently disposed of a writ petition that had challenged the rule.

The High Court division bench comprising of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Vijay K Shukla noted that clarified that since the two-judge bench of the Apex Court while considering the matter of Dr. Tanvi Behl v. Shrey Goyal and Ors. (2020) had already referred the issue of Domicile reservation in PG courses to the larger bench of Supreme Court, the HC was unable to take any view on the same.

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"Considering the fact that similar preference on the basis of domicile for admission to PG medical study courses has been given in several other States and in State of Madhya Pradesh also, it has been given quite for some time, propriety demands that the question as to what extent preference on the basis of residence/domicile can be given, having already been referred to the Larger Bench of Supreme Court in Dr.Tanvi Behl (supra), need not be dilated further in the present proceedings, to await the authoritative pronouncement of the Supreme Court when it answers the reference, particularly when the process of admission in the current academic year has already come to an advance stage," the bench noted at this outset.

Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the association of private medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh had challenged the 100% reservation in Postgraduate medical admission for candidates belonging to Madhya Pradesh or at least completing the MBBS course from any medical college of the state.

The case that was pending before the High Court concerned the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Medical Admission Rules, 2018 notified and framed under the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Niji Vyavsayik Sansthan (Pravesh Ka Vinyaman Evam Shulk Ka Nirdharan) Adhiniyam, 2007.

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As per the rules, in order to secure a PG medical admission in Private Medical and Dental colleges, a candidate must be a domicile of the State. The condition however offers a relaxation as well for those candidates who have completed their MBBS course from any medical college of the State of Madhya Pradesh.

Thus, as per the rules, students from other states and those securing a rank in the All India Merit List becomes eligible to apply for the counseling process only after the first round of counseling gets completed and that too only when the first two categories become exhausted.

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Seeking a stay on the counseling process, the association had challenged the rules contending that the reservation provided under the law for the domiciles of Madhya Pradesh in PG medical admission is contrary to the Supreme Court's observations in several other related cases.

The association had challenged the reservation contending that such rules were unacceptable and incompatible with the "Fundamental Right to admit students of their choice", as the rules forced the private medical colleges to admit students of the State domicile in the important branches of PG medical courses precluding far more meritorious candidates from the All India Merit List.

However, back in 2019, the HC had denied staying the counseling process and following that, the Association had approached the Apex Court regarding the matter.

The top court in an order dated 15.07.2019, had requested the High Court to dispose the petition expeditiously. At that time, the Apex Court had also noted that as the matter concerned a vital question of law its "resolution cannot brook any delay".

However, the matter was getting delayed before the High Court and then the association filed a special leave petition before the SC bench and submitted before the Court that continuous adjournments and deferral of the hearings have resulted in a situation when the counseling process for 2021-22 is to be conducted soon.

The top court had then requested the High Court to take up the matter at the earliest and decide the matter of PG medical counseling in Madhya Pradesh on August 25.

Also Read: MP Private Medical Colleges challenge domicile validity for PG medical admissions: SC asks HC to decide

However, the Madhya Pradesh High Court noted that while considering the Dr. Tanvi Behl v. Shrey Goyal and Ors. (2020), the Supreme Court bench had referred to larger bench the question whether providing for domicile/residence-based reservation, in admission to PG Medical Courses within the state quota is constitutionally invalid or impermissible and if permissible, what should be the extent and manner of providing such domicile/residence-based reservation within the state quota seats and what should be the modalities for providing such domicile/residence-based reservation in the State?

Noting that the answer concerning the issue is pending before the Larger Bench of the Supreme Court, the HC bench clarified, "Decision of the question whether in view of Section 8 of the Act of 2007, the State Government is empowered to only provide reservation in favour of SC/ST/OBC and further whether the State can identify the source of admission from amongst candidates domiciled in the State of Madhya Pradesh, as a separate class, has to await the answer of reference by the Larger Bench in Dr.Tanvi Behl (supra), in which the Supreme Court after considering the Constitution Bench judgments in Saurabh Chaudari (supra) and D.P. Joshi (Supra) and three-judge bench judgment in Pradip Tandon (supra) held that "domicile/residence-based reservation is not impermissible" and that "domicile/residence-based reservation has not been taken as an anathema altogether to these admission processes."

"Decision of the question whether in view of Section 8 of the Act of 2007, the State Government is empowered to only provide reservation in favour of SC/ST/OBC and further whether the State can identify the source of admission from amongst candidates domiciled in the State of Madhya Pradesh, as a separate class, has to await the answer of reference by the Larger Bench in Dr.Tanvi Behl (supra), in which the Supreme Court after considering the Constitution Bench judgments in Saurabh Chaudari (supra) and D.P. Joshi (Supra) and three-judge bench judgment in Pradip Tandon (supra) held that "domicile/residence-based reservation is not impermissible" and that "domicile/residence-based reservation has not been taken as an anathema altogether to these admission processes," the judgment further added.

Thus, denying to interfere with the matter, when the same is being considered by the larger bench of the Apex Court, the HC bench observed, "Considering the fact that similar preference on the basis of domicile for admission to PG medical study courses has been given in several other States and in State of Madhya Pradesh also, it has been given quite for some time, propriety demands that the question as to what extent preference on the basis of residence/domicile can be given, having already been referred to the Larger Bench of Supreme Court in Dr.Tanvi Behl (supra), need not be dilated further in the present proceedings, to await the authoritative pronouncement of the Supreme Court when it answers the reference, particularly when the process of admission in the current academic year has already come to an advance stage. In view of reference on the question of law involved in the present matter having already been referred to the Larger Bench of the Supreme Court in Dr. Tanvi Behl (supra), this Court does not for the time being deem it appropriate to interfere with the impugned provision. It however goes without saying that the decision of the Supreme Court in Dr. Tanvi Behl (supra) on the questions referred to the Larger Bench shall, in any case, bind the parties herein."

To read the High Court order, click on the link below.

https://medicaldialogues.in/pdf_upload/mp-hc-pg-med-admission-161043.pdf

Also Read: HC Stays MPPSC job Notification over allegations of arbitrary selection process for medical officers

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