23 Aug 2023 1:20 PM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has recently held that the Medical Board as an expert body is only authorised to determine the extent of a candidate's disability, and cannot draw a conclusion about whether a candidate would be eligible to pursue a medical course.A division bench of Justice G Narendar and Justice Vijaykumar A Patil on going through the records added that the Medical Board is not...
The Karnataka High Court has recently held that the Medical Board as an expert body is only authorised to determine the extent of a candidate's disability, and cannot draw a conclusion about whether a candidate would be eligible to pursue a medical course.
A division bench of Justice G Narendar and Justice Vijaykumar A Patil on going through the records added that the Medical Board is not the selecting authority to certify the eligibility of a candidate.
“The eligibility of a candidate is to be concluded by the respondents and it certainly is not within the domain of the Medical Board. Being an expert body it was merely required to assess and certify the extent of disability, in our opinion the conclusion drawn by the board is wholly unsustainable being illegal and as the board is not the selecting authority the eligibility of a candidate cannot be certified by the board.”
The case pertains to a candidate with a non-progressive disability who was assessed at 45% disability and granted admission to a seat reserved for "Persons with Disability." The petitioner, having completed her undergraduate studies with first-class honours and aspiring for post-graduation, underwent a mandatory examination by the Medical Board. Following the examination, the Board assessed her disability at 50%. However, the Board concluded that the candidate was ineligible to pursue a medical course as per norms set by the National Medical Commission (NMC).
The petitioner approached the High Court questioning the conclusion drawn by the medical board.
The central question before the Court was whether the Medical Board had the authority to determine a candidate's eligibility for a specific course. The Court held that the Board's role was limited to assessing and certifying the extent of disability, while the determination of eligibility rested with the competent authority.
“The board is only required to certify the extent of disability and the eligibility of a candidate is in the hands of the competent authority. In our opinion the board has traversed an area beyond its realms, which in our opinion is impermissible.”
The Court emphasised that a candidate with a certified disability between 40% and 80% is entitled to benefits under the quota system. Given that the petitioner's disability was certified at 50%, the Court ruled that she should be considered for selection under the "Persons with Disability" quota.
Regarding the Board's conclusion that the petitioner was ineligible as per NMC norms, the Court found it to be a consequence of sheer non-application of mind. This portion of the certificate was deemed irrelevant and struck off from consideration.
The Court also criticised the other official respondents - the Union of India and The National Medical Commission and Medical Council Committee- for blindly following the Board's stance.
Consequently, the writ petition was allowed with a direction to the relevant authorities to reexamine the petitioner's case for admission under the "Persons with Disability" quota. The petitioner's eligibility was to be assessed without considering the objectionable portion of the certificate. The Court added that the respondents should not await the formal copy of the order for implementation.
Case Title: Dr Pooja S N v Union of India & Others
Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 16631 OF 2023
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 321
Appearance: Advocate Divyatej H N for Advocate Rahamathulla Kothwal for Petitioner.
CGC Shivaprasad Shantanagoudar, for R1 & R3, Advocate K N Ketty, for R2
Click Here To Read/Download Order