MP HC upholds In-service Reservation for doctors serving in Rural areas, rule to be implemented from Next year
Jabalpur: The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently upheld the amendment in the In-service reservation rules introduced by the State, which restricted the benefits of the reservation only to the doctors serving in the rural or remote areas and excluded the doctors in the district hospitals.However, the bench clarified that the rules cannot be implemented mid session. Directing the State to...
Jabalpur: The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently upheld the amendment in the In-service reservation rules introduced by the State, which restricted the benefits of the reservation only to the doctors serving in the rural or remote areas and excluded the doctors in the district hospitals.
However, the bench clarified that the rules cannot be implemented mid session. Directing the State to implement the same from the next session, the HC bench quashed the merit list prepared by the State Government for 'in-service doctors' for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) post graduate (PG) medical counselling for the year 2022-23, adds India legal.
Such directions were issued by the Division bench of the HC comprising of Chief Justice RV Malimath and Justice Vishal Mishra, which has now asked the State for holding a fresh counselling and prepare a new list of eligible candidates.
The plea had been filed by a group of doctors serving at various district hospitals across the State. They qualified the NEET PG examination held in May this year. They claimed that even though they were eligible for 30 percent reservation for PG admissions at the time of the entrance examination, the situation changed after the State amended the rules back on July 26, 2022.
Introducing the amendment to the Madhya Pradesh Chikitsa Shiksha Pravesh Niyam, 2018, the Madhya Pradesh Government excluded such 'in-service' doctors, who had served only in district level hospitals and district healthcare centres of the State. This new rule restricted the 30 percent In-service reservation benefits only to the doctors serving in the remote or rural areas for a minimum period of three years. However, with this amendment, the doctors serving in the district hospitals were excluded.
Therefore, challenging the amendment the petitioner doctors approached the High Court and claimed such a rule to be arbitrary in nature.
As per the latest media report by India Legal Live, the State argued that while the 2018 Rules provided 30 percent in-service reservation for all registered medical officers, the 2022 amendment restricted the same "only for those in-service candidates who have put in service in rural/remote and difficult areas." In defense of their amendment, the State claimed that the new rules were in tune with the 2021 order passed by the Supreme Court in the case of Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association and others v. Union of India and others.
In that case, the top court bench had observed that the medical officers working in the rural/remote and difficult areas should definitely get advantage over doctors who have not served in those areas.
Although the HC bench accepted this submission to be legally valid, it also opined that the new provision could not be implemented in the middle of the ongoing session.
Considering the case of the petitioner doctors, the HC agreed that denying them the right for applying as in-service candidates has grossly affected their chances of admission. Holding them to be entitled for being considered as in-service candidates in terms of Rules 2 and 14 of the Rules of 2018, the HC bench further observed that not including their names in the list of in-service doctors would be inappropriate.
Therefore, the Court clarified that the amendment would be prospective and would not affect the present batch of doctors. With such an observation, the HC bench asked the State to quash the merit list and prepare a new list in this regard.
M.A in English
Barsha completed her Master's in English from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.