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Supreme Court Seeks Centre's Response On Plea Challengnig MCC Notice Modifying OBC Reservation Criteria For Institutional Preference Seats In Central Institutes

Sohini Chowdhury
27 May 2022 1:00 PM GMT
Supreme Court Seeks Centres Response On Plea Challengnig MCC Notice Modifying OBC Reservation Criteria For Institutional Preference Seats In Central Institutes
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The Supreme Court, on Friday, directed Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Union Government to file a counter affidavit within 4 weeks in a plea assailing Delhi High Court's dismissal of a writ petition challenging Medical Counselling Committee's (MCC) notice dated 10.01.2022 of modifying OBC reservation criteria with respect to Institutional Preference seats in Central Institutes ("impugned notification").

In the impugned notification OBC reservation for PG course, against institutional preference seats was restricted to candidates in the Central OBC list which consequently resulted in the non-consideration of candidates falling in the Delhi OBC list for admission to the reserved seats. Assailing the same, the petition asserts that MCC cannot deprive Delhi OBC candidates of their right to be considered under the Delhi OBC quota against the 50% institutional preference seats. It is pertinent to note that initially, vide Information Bulletin dated 03.10.2021, MCC permitted candidates to be admitted in terms of the list maintained by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi against the OBC seats in the 50% institutional preference seats. However, later, the Central agency vide the impugned notification expressed intention to rely only on the Central OBC list. It is contended that by way of the impugned notification MCC had changed the 'rules of the game' after the commencement of the counselling and that too, just before the candidates were required to fill their choices on 13.01.2022.

Noting the substratum of the matter to be an 'important issue', the vacation Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Bela M. Trivedi asked Additional Solicitor General, Ms. Aishwarya Bhati to file a response in the matter.

"Ms. Bhati file a return, this is an important issue."

In the impugned order, while upholding the validity of MCC's notification dated 10.01.2022, the Delhi High Court had held that there was no change in the rules of the game after it had begun. It held -

" In my view, this position that in all Central Institutions, admissions against seats reserved for the OBC was meant to be only for those in the Central OBC list was, therefore, crystal clear to everyone right from the beginning. Moreover, all the candidates were also well aware that in all central institutes including the VMMC & SJH, ABVIMS & RML, ESIC, BASAIDARAPUR, it was only the central OBC list which was being followed for Under Graduate courses from NEET-PG 2020 itself. At the same time, it cannot be denied that FAQ no. 50 as initially notified on 03.10.2021, and thereafter, on 10.01.2022 sought to convey otherwise."

Appearing before the vacation Bench, Advocate Shivendra Singh, who represented the petitioners, apprised the Bench that as per MCC's latest notification only the OBCs enumerated in the Central list can take part against the OBC seats in the 50% institutional preference seats. He contended the same to be illegal.

"Only Central OBC can participate as OBCs. On the face of this it is illegal."

Justice Chandrachud enquired, "So, you are in the State OBC list?"

Mr. Singh responded in the affirmative.

Thereafter Justice Chandrachud put the issue before Ms. Bhati seeking her response.

"Their contention seems to be how can you restrict it to only the Central List?"

Ms. Bhati stated that the MCI Regulation of 2017 postulates that MCC will carry out the Counseling for the institutional quota. She said the same regulation is applicable to the counseling for instructional quota in 30 other institutions across the country.

"There are 30 other institutes across the country which includes AIIMS, other colleges from DU etc."

Justice Chandrachud said -

"File your counter. This will involve all other 30 institutes as well."

Mr. Singh submitted that the present matter might not involve all the 30 institutes, because all such institutes are not similarly situated.

"In my humble submission it would not. Maulana Azad Medical College is run entirely by the NCT of Delhi. It is affiliated to Delhi University which is a Central University. That is why only candidates from the Central list of OBCs can participate. Why is the inverse logic not applicable to us?"

He emphasised -

"If the impugned policy is upheld, it would virtually permit the Counselling authority to change the Regulation of MCI."

Case Title: Amandeep v Medical Counselling Committee| Diary No. 9755 of 2022

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