Are meritorious candidates being treated as reserved category candidates in NEET PG Counselling? Supreme Court issues notice to Centre
New Delhi: Hearing a plea seeking proper implementation of reservation policy for NEET PG candidates, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre seeking its response. The petition alleged that reserved category meritorious candidates, who have qualified for general seats in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET PG 2022) examination, were being allotted AIQ (All India...
New Delhi: Hearing a plea seeking proper implementation of reservation policy for NEET PG candidates, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre seeking its response. The petition alleged that reserved category meritorious candidates, who have qualified for general seats in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET PG 2022) examination, were being allotted AIQ (All India Quota) seats under quota meant for the weaker sections.
The top court bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala has hence asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, to file an affidavit about the exact procedure being followed in the examination, as per the PTI report.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners, submitted that the result of the first round of NEET-PG counselling was released on September 28, however, seats belonging to meritorious reserved candidates (MRC), i.e. reserved category candidates, who on the basis of merit, were entitled to get admissions against the 50 per cent seats of the general category but were allotted reserved category seats in violation of the judgments of the apex court.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati contended that the reservation policy on roster basis was being followed in the counselling process. However, a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud asked Bhati to file a response within this week.
Bhushan contended that the petitioners pray that the allotment lists for NEET-PG counselling published thus far in violation of the established reservation policy be set aside and fresh allotment lists for NEET-PG counselling be issued in compliance with top court's judgments.
Bhati submitted that allocation of seats for NEET-PG Counselling for AIQ is being carried out as per para 3.1 and 3.2 of the admission brochure.
Para 3.1 of the NEET PG 2022 information bulletin deals with reservation policy and 3.2 mentions the roster:
3.1 Reservation Policy
The roster on the 50% AIQ seats shall be applied by the MCC of DGHS, MoHFW.
The plea, filed by Pankaj Kumar Mandal and two others, said: "It is a settled principle of law that reserved category candidates who meet the eligibility criteria as laid down for unreserved seats are entitled to get admissions against the 50 per cent general category seats. Thus, if a candidate is entitled to be admitted on the basis of his own merit, then such admission should not be counted against the quota reserved for Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe or any other reserved category since that will be against the constitutional mandate enshrined in Article 16(4)," quotes IANS.
It further added that those members who belong to reserved category but get selected in the open competition on the basis of their own merit have a right to be included in the general/unreserved category. "Such MRC are not to be included in the quota reserved for the Scheduled Castes, etc," it said.
Bhushan cited the example of the OBC candidate who secured 73rd rank, securing his place in general category but he was kept in the reserved category, affecting the prospect of another candidate from the reserved category.
As reported by Livelaw, the Bench noted that the crux of the issue in the matter is -
"…in NEET-PG seats in All India Quota, candidates belonging to reserved category who are sufficiently high on merit to secure a seat against the general category can yet be treated as candidate for seat in reserved category."
After hearing arguments, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on Monday and asked the Centre to file an affidavit in the matter. However, the bench, also comprising Justices Hima Kohli and J B Pardiwala, said an affidavit on behalf of the Union government would be necessary.
A total of 10,954 MD, MS and PG Diploma seats are available for NEET PG Counselling candidates this year, the maximum being in the speciality of MD General Medicine with 1,146 seats.
Garima joined Medical Dialogues in the year 2017 and is currently working as a Senior Editor. She looks after all the Healthcare news pertaining to Medico-legal cases, MCI/DCI decisions, Medical Education issues, government policies as well as all the news and updates concerning Medical and Dental Colleges in India. She is a graduate from Delhi University and pursuing MA in Journalism and Mass Communication. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Contact no. 011-43720751