NEET PG Candidates challenge 40 percent inservice Quota in WB: SC junks plea
New Delhi: Observing that the State Government had the authority to provide reservation for In-service doctors, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a writ petition which had challenged the 40% In-Service quota for admission to PG medical courses in West Bengal.
The top court bench Justices LN Rao and BR Gavai dismissed the matter and they noted, "We are not inclined to entertain this writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The writ petition is dismissed. Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of."
Some doctors, who appeared in NEET PG 2021, had challenged the October 8, 2021 notification of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, West Bengal, which had provided 40% reservation for in-service medical or dental officers.
The concerned notification stated, as reported by Live Law, "notification regarding provision of in- service quota in post graduate medical and dental and post-doctoral medical counselling for state quota seats government/private colleges, for such courses, in West Bengal which inter alia provides for 40% reservation for in-service medical/dental officers."
During the hearing of the case, the counsel for the petitioners, Senior Advocate Sonia Mathur sought a limited relief from the court for not implementing the reservation in the present academic year.
Responding to this, the bench in order to clarify the scope and limitations of the Legislative Competence of the States for making reservations for the in-service doctors in State-quota post graduate degree/diploma medical courses, referred to the top court's judgment in the case of Tamil Nadu Medical Officer's Association and Others v Union of India and Others (WP (Civil)196 of 2018).
At this outset, the bench was quoted remarking by Live Law, "If they have the power, why should we interfere with Ms Mathur? Now I think the counselling has been postponed."
However, the Senior counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that she was not questioning the competence of the court. She further submitted that with the COVID, the result would have been declared in May 2021. The exam got postponed and the concerned notification by the State Government was issued in October 2021.
In this context, she referred to the case of Prerit Sharma and Others v. Dr Billu BS and Others (Civil Appeal 3840 of 2020) which assailed the order of the Kerala High Court regarding the implementation of 40% reservation for in-service doctors for admission to Super-specialty medical courses.
Placing reliance upon this, the senior counsel further submitted how the top court last year had directed to conduct the counselling without the in-service reservation in super-specialty courses.
However, the bench clarified that such an order was passed by the top court as the admission process back then was in the final stages. On the other hand, the counselling process for this year is yet to begin.
The counsel for the petitioners argued, "So far as competence of state legislature is there I am not assailing that. What I am pointing out is that at least for this year the implementation of this circular should not be implemented."
However, dismissing the plea, the bench noted, "No Ms Mathur, we can't entertain this. Dismissed."
To read the court order, click on the link below.