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NEET-PG: MBBS Graduates Approach Kerala High Court To Quash State Circular Granting 27% Reservation To SEBC

Hannah M Varghese
26 Nov 2021 12:27 PM GMT
NEET-PG: MBBS Graduates Approach Kerala High Court To Quash State Circular Granting 27% Reservation To SEBC
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A group of MBBS graduates has moved the Kerala High Court challenging a circular issued by the State government increasing reservation for the socially and economically backward classes (SEBC) from 9% to 27% in medical postgraduate courses. Justice N. Nagaresh has admitted the matter and posted the matter for hearing on 29th November.The petitioners are a group of doctors eligible...

A group of MBBS graduates has moved the Kerala High Court challenging a circular issued by the State government increasing reservation for the socially and economically backward classes (SEBC) from 9% to 27% in medical postgraduate courses. 

Justice N. Nagaresh has admitted the matter and posted the matter for hearing on 29th November.

The petitioners are a group of doctors eligible for postgraduate courses in various disciplines and had appeared for the NEET-PG examination in 2021.

The primary contention of the petitioners is that a recent revision of the number of seats to various reserved categories as provided by a recent State circular is in violation of constitutional norms causing serious prejudice to the merit candidates. 

There are a total of 833 seats for PG courses out of which 427 seats are filled up from the rank list prepared by the Commissioner of Entrance Examinations. Out of the total seats allotted to the State, 9% is reserved for socially, educationally backward classes as notified by the State. 

Recently, on 20th October 2021, the State government issued a circular revising the reservation pattern of seats for the admission of postgraduate medical courses in the state by enhancing the SEBC reservation quota from 2021-2022. The circular proposes to increase SEBC Reservation from 9% to 27%, thereby reducing the merit seats for the general candidates to 38%. 

The petitioners pointed out that the Supreme Court had considered the constitutionality of reservations in the postgraduate and super speciality courses on various occasions and has established that at these levels, reservations have to be minimal. 

Therefore, they contend that the decision of the State goes against the spirit and content of the Supreme Court decision. 

Reliance was placed on another Apex Court decision of Dr. Preethi Sreevasthava v. State of MP where it was explicitly laid down that reservation at the super specialisation level would lead to dilution of merit.

It was further argued that when the Central Government introduced 27% reservation for the backward classes in 1990, the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney case had upheld the reservation but had held that if the merit reservation of 9% for SEBC was not adequate or sufficient to provide the required percentage in the postgraduate courses in a State, reasons must be provided for the same. 

However, according to the petitioners, no details are available nor any consideration on the aspect before the decision is taken by the State.

They added that the position in Kerala is different from that of other States since, in certain specialised disciplines, the SEBC candidates are adequately represented as candidates from other communities secure admission under the merit quota. Thus they alleged that the respondents had failed to apply the basic principles of reservation before the decision is taken to increase the reservation for SEC candidates.  

Accordingly, the petitioners prayed that the circular be quashed and a direction be issued to the respondents to prepare the selection list for admission to the postgraduate courses for 2020-2021 unfettered by the impugned circular. 

The plea was filed through Advocates S. Sujin and Nitha N.S. 

It may be noted that the Supreme Court is also considering a batch of petitions challenging the Centre's decision for implementation of EWS/OBC reservation in the NEET All India Quota.

Case Title: Dr. Sreeparvathy & Ors v. Commissioner of Entrance Examinations & Anr.

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