50 Percent In-Service Reservation For PG Medical, SS Courses: Supreme Court reserves order
New Delhi: On the matter of whether 50 percent reservation to government doctors and in-service candidates in PostGraduate medical (PG medical) and super-specialty courses should be allowed, the Supreme Court has recently reserved its order
The SC bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao was hearing a batch of pleas filed by doctors, including NEET PG qualifiers who were challenging reservation of seats for in-service candidates in super-specialty courses.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported about the issue which came after the state of Tamil Nadu, on November 7 had allocated 50 percent of postgraduate super-specialty seats in government medical colleges to in-service government doctors from the academic year 2020-2021.
As per the circular on DM/Mch, "the system will be changed as 50% of the seats were available for the open quota to which both services and non-service candidates were eligible for selection on the basis of merit. 50% of the seats in each of the specialties were allocated exclusively to service candidates. In the success of the policy framed by the state of Tamil Nadu which has been in place for several years, 50% of the state quota seats in each super specialty of the postgraduate courses are allocated to doctors in government service. On selection, the government service doctors are required to serve the government till superannuation while non-service doctors are required to serve the government for a period of no less than two years."
Hence, for the super specialty courses, all the seats for the state quota will be reserved for government doctors.
Meanwhile, in another circular, the state government stated, "the Director of Medical Education has stated that until the year 2016-17 50% of the seats in the postgraduate degree courses and postgraduate diploma courses were surrendered to All India Quota for which and all India examination was conducted by the national board of examination while the remaining 50% seats were allotted to State quota for which state level entrance examination was conducted by additional director of Medical education and secretary selection committee and counseling for the State quota was done based on the merit list and by following the rules of reservation." It further added that from now on 50% of seats for postgraduate degrees diploma courses in Tamil Nadu within the state quota (25% of the total seats) will be reserved for in-service candidates.
However, the matter of the orders became a point of concern before the Madras High Court where Justice Anand Venkatesh had considered a number of cases filed by in-service medicos for further hearing.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that when the central government had asked the court to defer the hearings till the dismissal of a case in the supreme court, the senior counsel for the serving doctors stated that the case which is being considered in the apex court has no connection with the current circumstances and hence the government's implementation of the quota should not be delayed. Thereafter, the Madras High court, on November 9 refused to defer the hearing and disposed of the plea.
Then, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the State authorities while considering a plea moved by the group of PG doctors, led by Amit Mohanty for admissions to super-specialty medical courses for the current academic year. In their appeal, the doctors argued that the apex court was already seized of the issue of reservation in super-specialty medical courses in the Dr. Preeti Sharma case and had ordered the maintenance of the status quo till it was finally decided.
Besides, they contended that a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, exported in 1999, had held that "merit, and merit alone, is the basis for admission at the super-specialty level".
Instead, the November 7 order of the State government had empowered the Secretary, Selection Committee, to conduct counselling and fill 50% of the super-specialty seats in government medical colleges with in-service candidates in the State of Tamil Nadu.
The appeal argued that the order was contrary to the Postgraduate Medical Education (Amendment) Regulations of 2019, which mandates that the Directorate General of Health Services should be in charge of the admission process. "There is no concept of any reservation for admission to super-specialty medical courses," the appeal had stated.
Now during a recent hearing on the case, the Tamil Nadu government argued that there was an acute need for super-specialty qualified doctors both in the medical academia and in practice.
The States argued that preparation for admission to these courses had started almost immediately following the Constitution Bench judgment on August 31.
The judgment had empowered States to devise a separate channel of entry for in-service doctors. "State has the legislative competence and authority to provide for a separate source of entry for in-service candidates seeking admission to postgraduate degree/diploma courses in the exercise of powers under Entry 25, List III," the apex court had concluded in the August 31 verdict, quotes the Hindu.
Senior advocate P. Wilson, for caveators, submitted that the issue of in-service reservations to government doctors was already settled. "The matter is being re-agitated again and again," he said. Both Madras and Kerala High Courts had not intervened with the States' move to provide in-service reservation.
According to the Live law, the following legal propositions have been raised for the consideration of the Supreme Court:
1. Whether the judgement in K Doraisamy and others versus state of Tamil Nadu [2001 (2) SCC 538] covers the issue of quota for in-service candidates in super speciality courses also?
2. Whether the Constitution bench decision in Tamil Nadu Medical Officers' Association approves the ratio laid down in K. Doraisamy?
3. Whether the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations 2000 framed under section 33 of Indian Medical Council Act 1956, which is traceable under Entry 66 List 1, have the power to make any provisions for reservations, more particularly for in-service candidates as done by the concerned states, in exercise of Entry 25 List 3?
4. Whether Regulation 9 of MCA Regulations 2000 affects the legislative competence and authority of the state to make provisions providing for a separate source of entry for in-service candidates in Super Speciality courses? Whether the MCA Post Graduation Regulations 2000 also deal with the Super Speciality courses?
5. Whether prescription of quota relating to in-service candidates can be treated on par with communal reservations and whether the judgement in Dr. Preeti Srivastav v. State of Maharashtra [1999 (7) SCC 120] has dealt with the issue of quota for in-service candidates in Super Speciality courses? And if so, what was the issue before Dr. Preeti Shrivastav?
7. Whether the ratio decidendi of a judgement has to be found only after reading of the entire judgement or the conclusions of the judgement? Whether judgements can be read as a statute?
Ultimately, the bench reserved orders after hearing the contentions from both sides, and after considering the submissions of the Central government and the National Medical Commission, reports Livelaw