In a rare instance, a division bench of the Bombay High Court sat on a Sunday to hear a writ petition filed by 5 Doctors whose admission to the respective PG Medical courses was cancelled following a Government Resolution issued on April 27 by the State Government.
The Government Resolution was found to be arbitrary and unreasonable by the bench of Justices SS Kemkar and AM Badar and a stay on the cancellation of admission was granted.
A week ago, Supreme Court directed the State of Maharashtra to conclude the first round of counselling for post-graduate medical courses on the pre-determined date of May 7.
Although there is an 85% quota in medical colleges for medical students with a Maharashtra domicile, the remaining 15% is an All India quota inclusive of other quotas as well.
Following apex court’s direction to finish the counselling process before May 7, state government issued a notification dated April 27, 2017 modifying rules for admission to PG Medical courses in the state.
This notification made domicile certificate a mandatory criterion for seeking admission to the PG Medical courses which is contrary to Clause 8.2 of the Rules for Procedure for Selection and Admission to Medical Postgraduate Courses. Under the said Clause, students having completed their MBBS from Maharashtra were eligible to apply for the PG courses as well.
Aggrieved by the new GR, the petitioners moved court on April 28. They had even paid 13 lakhs towards compensation for rendering rural service in the State.
Submissions and Observations
Appearing for the petitioners, VA Thorat argued that the April 27 GR was issued at the end of the preparation of first merit list, the delay was such that his clients could not even apply to colleges in their own state. He cited judgements from the Supreme Court as well as the High Court in support of his argument.
LM Acharya appeared on behalf of the State and submitted that since the counselling process is yet to begin it is open for the State to change the eligibility criteria.
As noted in the order, the implied objective of the State is to have maximum Post graduate students from the State of Maharashtra.
The bench noted that a prima facie case for grant of interim relief to the petitioners has been made out and observed-
The change of eligibility criteria at the stage when the first selection list was to be published is in our view arbitrary and unreasonable. The petitioners who were given legitimate expectation right from January 2017 that they would be eligible to get admission in view of Clause 8.2 as was existing at the stage upto April 27 when now it is impossible for the petitioners to apply in their home state or any other state.
State has been directed to file a reply in the matter within two weeks, the case will now come up for hearing on June 7, post Court Vacations.
Read the Order here.