The first ever "virtual constitutional bench" of the Apex Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment after concluding the hearing of a case.
In 'Virtual Court No.3', a five judge bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose heard the matter relating to the issue whether states can provide reservation in PG medical Courses to medical officers having work experience in the rural areas.
"Heard the learned Counsel for the parties at length. Hearing concluded. Judgment Reserved. Written Submissions, if any, be filed by 20.07.2020", ordered the bench after the virtual hearing.
The lead case was filed by Tamil Nadu Medical Officers' Association challenging Regulation 9(4) and (8) of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000, as framed by the Medical Council of India.
Their main contention is that "the coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education" is within the exclusive domain of the Union, medical education under Entry 25, List III, though made subject to Entry 66 of List I, being an Entry in the Concurrent List, the State is not denuded of its power to legislate on the manner and method for admissions to Post Graduate Medical Courses.
Before the three judge bench, Centre cited Dinesh Singh Chauhan case, a three-judge bench judgement which had held that the state cannot provide reservation to in-service candidates to PG Courses.
However, the bench of Justices Kurian Joseph, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Navin Sinha agreed with the contention of the petitioners that, in the said case, the Court had not considered the legislative Entries and there was no reference to three Constitution Bench decisions of the apex Court, namely, R. Chitralekha and Another v. State of Mysore and Others, reported in (1964) 6 SCR 368, Kumari Chitra Ghosh and Another v. Union of India and Others, reported in (1969) 2 SCC 228 and Modern Dental College and Research Centre and Others v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Others, reported in (2016) 7 SCC 353.
The case was then referred before a Constitution Bench. The Bench had refused to grant interim relief of separate source of entry or a reservation for in-service candidates in post-graduate medical degree courses.