Can state make reservation in favour of the in-service candidates for Post Graduate medical courses?, the Supreme Court has reopened this question as it has referred the matter to Constitution bench.
Tamil Nadu Medical Officers’ Association and others had filed a writ petition before the Apex Court challenging Regulation 9(4) and (8) of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000, as framed by the Medical Council of India. They had mainly contended that “the coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education” is within the exclusive domain of the Union, medical education under Entry 25, List III, though made subject to Entry 66 of List I, being an Entry in the Concurrent List, the State is not denuded of its power to legislate on the manner and method for admissions to Post Graduate Medical Courses.
Although the Union contended that the issue has been settled in Dinesh Singh Chauhan case, the bench agreed with the contention of the petitioners that, in the said case, the Court had not considered the legislative Entries and there was no reference to three constitution bench judgments.
In Dinesh Singh Chauhan case, a three-judge bench had held that the state cannot provide reservation to in-service candidates to PG Courses. It was also held that Regulation 9 to be a complete Code and a provision for determining the inter-se merit of the candidates including by giving weightage of marks as an incentive to eligible in-service candidates who have worked in notified remote or difficult areas in the State, which is just, reasonable and necessary in larger public interest.
The Bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph, observed: “We are of the view that Dinesh Singh Chauhan (supra), has not considered the legislative Entries in respect of the contentions 10 we have noted above. Apparently, it appears no such contentions were raised before the Court. Same is the situation with regard to the non-reference with respect to the three Constitution Bench decisions we have referred to above. As far as Modern Dental (supra) is concerned, perhaps the judgment had not been published by the time the judgment in Dinesh Singh Chauhan (supra) was rendered.”
Taking note of the fact that, the counseling to said courses are about to start, the bench said: “Accordingly, place the matters before the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India for consideration by a larger Bench, emergently.”
Though interim orders were pressed, the bench refused and said the petitioners are free to make a mention before CJI, on Monday.