The Supreme court on Monday held that merit alone should be the basis of admission in Medical PG courses among candidates of a given category instead of eligible senior lower in merit.
The apex court also set aside Section 5(4) of the Medical Officers' Admission to Postgraduate Courses under Service Quota Act, 2008 that provides privilege to the senior candidate who serves in the State Government to get admission in PG courses ahead of junior counterparts, despite of scoring less in the common entrance examination. According to the Medical Council of India provision, seniors had to obtain the minimum eligibility bench-mark in that test.
After referring to various case laws, the bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and R. Banumathi held "it is, in the light of the pronouncements, futile to argue that the impugned legislation can hold the field even when it is in clear breach of the Medical Council of India's Regulations."
"A meritorious in-service candidate cannot be denied admission only because he has an eligible senior above him though lower in merit. It is now fairly well settled that merit and merit alone can be the basis of admission among candidates belonging to any given category….. In service, candidates belong to one category. Their inter-se merit cannot be overlooked only to promote seniority which has no place in the scheme of MCI Regulations. That does not mean that merit based admissions to in-service candidates cannot take into account the service rendered by such candidates in rural areas," it further observes.
Earlier, the High Court had held that selection of in-service medical officers for post-graduate medical education shall be followed as per the Act that will be "strictly on the basis of inter se seniority of the candidates who have taken the common entrance test for post-graduate medical education and have obtained the minimum eligibility bench mark in that test in terms of the Regulations framed by the MCI."
The Supreme Court after referring to the MCI regulation held that the candidates who were in the past in the government services should be treated as a separate channel for admission to post-graduate course within that category, but the admission can be granted “only on the basis of merit".
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