Gujarat HC quashes rule for preference to Gujarat domicile holders in NRI quota

Gujarat HC quashes rule for preference to Gujarat domicile holders in NRI quota

A Division Bench of the Gujarat High Court on Monday quashed the State Rules which made provision for giving preference to Non-resident Gujarati students under NRI quota in medical colleges. The Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N.V. Anjaria was examining a challenge to Rule 7(1)(C)(4) of the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Courses (Regulation of Admission and Payment of Fees) (Amendment) Rules, 2015. It observed that all NRIs should be treated at par, irrespective of their being domicile holders of Gujarat.

The Petitioner, Kolasani Sai Yaswanth Reddy is a candidate about 17 years and had filed the petition through his father, Kolasani Venkata Nagi Reddy. He had reportedly stated, “The state government modified the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Courses (Regulation of Admission and Payment of Fees) Amendment, Rules, 2015, which is unconstitutional in the eyes of the law. The notification issued on June 29 stated that during admission process for NRI seats, priority will be given to Gujarat domicile students.”

His advocate Gunvant Thakkar had said, “This decision will result in injustice to students who have scored well. There are several other students preparing for admission and this decision will affect their future as well. By doing this, the state government has made reservation for Gujaratis.”

For the year 2014-15, Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Courses (Regulation of Admission and Payment of Fees) (Amendment) Rules, 2014 were notified by Health and Family Welfare Department, Gandhinagar on 27.05.2014. These rules stipulated a merit based approach for admission in the NRI quota given by the management of the respective Professional Medical Educational College or Institution. Domicile of the NRI candidates was not given any importance in these rules.

However, the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Courses (Regulation of Admission and Payment of Fees) (Amendment) Rules, 2015, as notified on 29.05.2014, provided for four categories of lists for the NRI candidates. The rules provided that in the first category merit list, genuine NRI candidates who hold a domicile of Gujarat will have to be admitted. Thereafter, the next three lists were to be released. Therefore, as the Court had observed in an earlier order, it appeared that the State Government had made a provision of reservation of 100% seats for students holding domicile of Gujarat State.

In view of this disparity, the Court had, in an order dated July 2, 2015, stayed the operation of these Rules. The Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Vijay Manohar Sahai and Justice R.P. Dholaria had observed, “Just to take an example, if there are 100 MMBS seats available in a medical college, then 15 seats are to be reserved for NRI candidates and if there are 15 NRI candidates, who are domicile of Gujarat, then all the 15 seats would be filled from them and no admission would be granted to Category B, C and D irrespective of fact as to whether they have secured more marks, than the NRI, who are domicile of Gujarat. This appears to be in total discrimination, arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. There is no nexus with the objects sought to be achieved while admitting only domicile of Gujarat under the NRI seats.”

The Court had then left it open for the State Government to fill up NRI seats in pursuance of the earlier Rules of the year 2014, i.e. Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Courses (Regulation of Admission and Payment of Fees) (Amendment) Rules, 2014.

Read the Judgment here