NEET PG: SC Seeks response from Centre on MCC Modified OBC Reservation Criteria
New Delhi: Seeking to know the Union Health Ministry's stand on a plea challenging the Medical Counselling Committee's decision of modifying the OBC reservation criteria for the Institutional Preference seats in Central Institutes, the Supreme Court has directed the Additional Solicitor General to file an affidavit in this regard within four weeks.The candidates contended that the rules of...
New Delhi: Seeking to know the Union Health Ministry's stand on a plea challenging the Medical Counselling Committee's decision of modifying the OBC reservation criteria for the Institutional Preference seats in Central Institutes, the Supreme Court has directed the Additional Solicitor General to file an affidavit in this regard within four weeks.
The candidates contended that the rules of the game were changed after the counselling for PG courses started and especially before the candidates were asked to fill their choices on 13.01.2022.
After taking note of the matter, the top court bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and Bela M. Trivedi directed the ASG Ms. Aishwarya Bhati to file a response and noted, "Ms. Bhati file a return, this is an important issue."
The notice in question was published by MCC on 10.01.2022 and the Committee had modified the OBC reservation for admission to PG courses and restricted the reservation to the candidates belonging to Central OBC list.
As a result, candidates falling in the State OBC list were left out and therefore assailing the notification they had reached the Delhi High Court. Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that in the high court, the petitioners had contended that both, under the brochure issued by the University on 10.06.2021, and the Information Bulletin issued by MCC on 03.10.2021, they, as OBC candidates in terms of the list maintained by the Delhi Government, were eligible for admission against the OBC seats in the 50% institutional preference seats.
However, MCC later on 10.01.2022, issued a revised counselling Information bulletin and it was followed by another revision on 12.02.2022. On both of these occasions, not only was the clause dealing with the reservation policy for central institutes including Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, Atal Bihari Vajpayee IMS & RML, ESIC Basaidarapur changed, but, the answer to FAQ No. 50 was also changed in the revised bulletin issued on 12.01.2022.
The students had claimed that the modification of the OBC list contradicted the policy followed in the NEET-PG 2020 when the candidates in Delhi OBC were eligible for admission in institutional preference seats.
At that time, while considering the matter, the HC bench comprising of Justice Rekha Palli had dismissed the plea with an observation that the petitioner aspirants were relying mainly on FAQ, whereas the MCC brochure and Information Bulletin of the University had clearly mentioned that the Central OBC list would be applicable for admission.
"In my view, this position that in all Central Institutions, admissions against seats reserved for the OBC was meant to be only for those in the Central OBC list was, therefore, crystal clear to everyone right from the beginning. Moreover, all the candidates were also well aware that in all central institutes including the VMMC & SJH, ABVIMS & RML, ESIC, BASAIDARAPUR, it was only the central OBC list which was being followed for Under Graduate courses from NEET-PG 2020 itself," the HC bench had held.
As per the latest media report by Live Law, challenging the order of HC, the petitioners have now approached the Supreme Court bench and the counsel appearing on the behalf of petitioners claimed that the modified policy of MCC that enables only OBC candidates of Central List avail the reservation benefits was illegal.
"Only Central OBC can participate as OBCs. On the face of this it is illegal," submitted counsel for the petitioners, Advocate Shivendra Singh.
Responding to this, the bench questioned, "So, you are in the State OBC list?"
When the petitioners' counsel responded in affirmative, the bench sought response from ASG Bhati and noted, "Their contention seems to be how can you restrict it to only the Central List?"
At this outset, ASG Bhati pointed out that as per the MCI Regulation of 2017, the Medical Counselling Committee will carry out counselling for the Institutional Quota and the same regulation is applicable for instructional quota in 30 other institutions across the country.
"There are 30 other institutes across the country which includes AIIMS, other colleges from DU etc," submitted ASG Bhati.
"File your counter. This will involve all other 30 institutes as well," the bench responded at this outset.
However, the counsel for the petitioners argued that the present matter might not concern all the 30 institutes as they are not similarly situated. He submitted, "In my humble submission it would not. Maulana Azad Medical College is run entirely by the NCT of Delhi. It is affiliated to Delhi University which is a Central University. That is why only candidates from the Central list of OBCs can participate. Why is the inverse logic not applicable to us?"
"If the impugned policy is upheld, it would virtually permit the Counselling authority to change the Regulation of MCI," the counsel further emphasozed.
The matter has been listed for further hearing on July 19, 2022.
To read the court order, click on the link below.
Barsha completed her MA 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 email@example.com.