25 Oct 2022 11:20 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has quashed and set aside the government notification dated 06.10.2022, by which seats earmarked for in-service candidates for PG-NEET Examination 2022, was reduced from 30 percent to 15 percent. A division bench of Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty while allowing a batch of petitions said, "The quota for in-service candidates has been...
The Karnataka High Court has quashed and set aside the government notification dated 06.10.2022, by which seats earmarked for in-service candidates for PG-NEET Examination 2022, was reduced from 30 percent to 15 percent.
A division bench of Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty while allowing a batch of petitions said, "The quota for in-service candidates has been reduced without assigning any cogent reasons and the decision appears to have been taken in a casual and cavalier manner. The relevant facts while reduction of quota from 30% to 15% have not been considered by the State Government while reducing the quota. The impugned notification dated 06.10.2022 suffers from the vice of non application of mind and is arbitrary."
The petitioners, all doctors working in various primary health centres under the Department of Health and Family Welfare, had informed the court that every year the State Government earmarks the seats for admission to various PG courses for in-service candidates. By a notification dated 19.01.2022, the State Government had earmarked 30% of the seats for in-service candidates.
Further, it was submitted that the Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare services had issued a circular dated 04.02.2022 which enabled the petitioners to make applications for post graduate courses as against in- service quota on the basis of the marks secured in PG-NEET entrance examination.
The petitioners applied for admission to the postgraduate course. The Director of Medical Education issued a merit list on 29.09.2022 of 130 candidates who were found eligible to appear for counselling for admission to postgraduate courses.
However, the State Government on 06.10.2022 issued a notification for counselling in respect of post graduate courses wherein out of total number of government post graduate seats in government as well as medical colleges, 85% of the seats were earmarked for non in-service candidates and 15% of the seats were earmarked for in-service candidates.
The court referred to judgments of the Supreme Court on the object and purpose of providing separate source of admission for in-service candidates, wherein it was held that there is a legitimate and rational basis for providing a separate channel or source of entry for in-service candidates in order to encourage them to offer their services in rural areas.
"It was further held that there was a sufficient nexus with a larger role of equalisation of educational opportunities. It was also held that in the absence of such an incentive, there would be a serious dearth of qualified post graduate Doctors to meet the requirement of the common public," the court noted.
The division bench said the decision to reduce the quota from 30% to 15% to provide non-in-service meritorious students seats is a "wholly irrelevant criteria" for reduction of seats.
Further it said, "The in-service candidate need to have a better ratio of choice. For the preceding year, the ratio of choice for in-service candidates was better and the ratio of choice in respect of seats was 1 : 5, i.e., 1 candidate had at the option of choosing 1 out of 5 available seats, which has been reduced to this year to virtually 1 : 1 i.e., a candidate has to choose 1 seat which is available."
The quota for in-service candidates has been reduced without assigning any cogent reasons and the decision appears to have been taken in a casual and cavalier manner, the court said.
Allowing the petitions, the bench said, "The seat matrix dated 09.10.2022 issued by the Director of Medical Education is also quashed. Needless to state that the State Government shall be at liberty to prescribe the quota for in-service candidates afresh while taking into account relevant criteria and to fill up the seats."
Case Title: DR. SWATHI K.S & ANR v. THE STATE OF KARNATAKA & others
Case No: W.P. No.2O512 OF 2O22 (EDN-RES) C/W W.P. NO.2O2O1 OF 2O22 (EDN-RES) W.P.NO.2O847 OF 2O22 (EDN-RES) W.P.NO.2O91O OF 2O22 (EDN-RES)
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 425
Date of Order: 21ST DAY OF OCTOBER 2022
Appearance: VIVEK SUBBA REDDY, SR. COUNSEL FOR CHANDRE GOWDA T.G. ADVOCATE for petitioners.
DHYAN CHINAPPA, AAG A/W LAXMI NARAYANA, AAG FOR R1 & R3.
N.K. RAMESH, ADVOCATE, FOR R4
Click Here To Read/Download Order