The law on grant of incentives to doctors serving in remote/difficult areas in the NEET examination for admission to Post-graduate Medical/Dental courses continued to be debated before the Supreme Court’s vacation bench of Justices L.Nageswara Rao and Navin Sinha, for the second consecutive day, on Wednesday, in another case, State of Haryana v Dr.Narender Soni.
On Tuesday, the bench reserved its judgment in a related case in which Punjab Government tinkered with the MCI regulation, and limited the incentive. On Wednesday, the bench heard the appeal filed by the State of Haryana against a similar verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In the case before the High Court, the validity of the Haryana Government’s notification dated 16.3.17 notifying the procedure for admission to Post Graduate Medical/Dental Courses for the 2017-18 session, providing for reservation for inservice candidates was challenged on the ground that it was contrary to the MCI’s 2000 Regulations, and the judgment of the Supreme Court in Dr.Dinesh Singh Chauhan, delivered on 16.8.2016.
Another order issued by the State Government on April 24 was also under challenge on the ground that it did not define/notify remote/difficult areas, but sought to provide benefit to the candidates for rendering service in rural areas. The High Court made it clear that the decision to notify areas as remote or difficult must be applicable to all the beneficial schemes of the State for such areas, and not limited to the matter of admissions in Post Graduate Medical Courses, in terms of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Dinesh Singh Chauhan.
The High Court had deprecated the state Government for notifying the procedure for admission, contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court.
In the appeal filed by the State of Haryana against the High Court’s May 9 verdict, the Supreme Court bench heard arguments on whether the state Government applied its mind while notifying the difficult/remote areas.
The High Court, in its judgment, had observed that the areas which might be difficult/remote areas more than a decade back, might have been developed now, and in fact, there is hardly any area in the State which could be said to be remote/difficult.
Out of the total of 115 Community Health Centres, 68 have been notified as remote and difficult areas in the State, that is, nearly 60 per cent of the total. In the case of Primary Health Centres, 54 per cent have been notified as remote and/or difficult areas. The High Court expressed surprise at the high percentage of difficult/remote areas in Haryana.
The High Court, on May 9, had set aside the notification on the basis of which admissions had been made, and directed the State/the Nodal Agency/University to carry out fresh counselling.
The Vacation Bench has concluded hearing the arguments in the SLP, and reserved its judgment.