19 April 2022 1:09 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a Special Leave Petition preferred by "in-service candidates" of the State of Madhya Pradesh seeking to not shift the unfilled seats of the reserved category in-service compartment to open/direct category. "There has to be some certainty in medical admission and some order in the lives of the students. HC has taken a view that on the...
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a Special Leave Petition preferred by "in-service candidates" of the State of Madhya Pradesh seeking to not shift the unfilled seats of the reserved category in-service compartment to open/direct category.
"There has to be some certainty in medical admission and some order in the lives of the students. HC has taken a view that on the interpretation of the rule, we'll be trusting the HC for the same. Now at the last minute for us to start, we'll have to grant a stay and everything will be dislocated. Let students pursue their education, you know," the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Sanjiv Khanna and Surya Kant orally observed.
"In the facts and circumstances of the case and having due regard to the stage of the admission process, we are not inclined to entertain the plea," the bench said in its order.
The bench dismissed the SLP which was preferred against the order dated April 11, 2022 passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court. ("impugned judgment")
In the impugned judgment, the High Court had refused to entertain the writ petition preferred by "in- service candidates" wherein they after relying on Rule 4 and Rule 14 of the Madhya Pradesh Chikitsa Shiksha Pravesh Niyam, 2018 had contended that unfilled seats of SC/ST/OBC/EWS category falling under 30% reserved compartment earmarked for 'in-service candidates' could not cannot be converted/shifted to the pool of open/direct category. In this regard they had further argued that the same could only be converted to the pool of open/direct category, before the same being first offered to general/unreserved category candidates within the same pool/compartment of 'in-service candidates'.
Rule 4 of the Admission Rules provides the methodology for filling the posts category wise and Rule 14 of the Admission Rules provides for reserving 30 posts for in-service candidates in Degree/PG Courses.
Before the High Court the candidates after referring to Rule 4 and Rule 14 of the Admission Rules submitted that the unfilled seats of reserved category in-service compartment cannot be shifted to open/direct category and that intermingling of seats between two compartments was impermissible. It was further argued that in the absence of any express enabling provision, the action of respondents in shifting the seats of one compartment (in-service category to another namely open/direct category) is bad-in-law and that the Admission Rules must be given purposive interpretation.
While refusing to grant the relief sought, the bench of Justices Sujoy Paul And Dwarka Dhish Bansal said,
"A minute reading of sub Rule (1) and (2) of Rule 14 leaves no room for any doubt that 'vacancies' means all the vacancies and not vacancies confined to 'in-service candidates'. Putting it differently, in sub Rule (2) of Rule 14 it is mentioned about vacancies of sub Rule (1) of Rule 14(1). At the cost of repetition, in our considered opinion, the vacancy of sub Rule (1) relates to the entire set of vacancies of all subjects available in Government and Private Medical Colleges as well as in Dental Hospitals. Thus, we are unable to persuade ourselves with the line of argument advanced by learned counsel for the petitioners."
What Transpired In The Supreme Court Today?
When the matter was called for hearing, counsel appearing for the candidates submitted that the State Government had given an undertaking that they would not conduct a Mop Up round. It was also argued that if the allotment had been done ex facie contrary to the rules, then the cart had to be put back. Counsel had further argued that both were two separate watertight compartments and therefore, unfilled reserved category vacancies should be filled up vertically as within the compartment only.
"Allotments have been made, students are not parties before us. They have all taken admissions now," Justice DY Chandrachud the presiding judge of the bench remarked.
"It's not really a reservation and it's by the rules. So the rules can postulate as to how it is to be worked out and if the rules have been worded in a way as to how it can be worked out, the same can be reduced also. Only question is interpretation of rule 14(1), (2) and (4). We need not go into the larger issue," Justice Sanjiv Khanna added.
"State had undertaken to serve them before the High Court. We were before the court immediately after they erroneously converted," the counsel replied.
While requesting the bench to issue notice in the matter, counsel further said, "This will be in the future to come. Our submission may not be for this year."
Referring to the relevant provisions of the Admission Rules, counsel contended that as per the said procedure, the unfilled seats of ST category should go to SC category, similarly, unfilled seats of SC category will go to ST category. He further added that unfilled posts of SC and ST category shall go to OBC category.
It was also his contention that if candidates of SC, ST and OBC are not available, the seats will be filled up by unreserved category candidates and that the entire exercise should be vertical and within the category of in-service candidates.
Emphasizing on the need to have a "Certainty in medical admission", Justice DY Chandrachud said, "Look we are not at all finding fault and we need to look beyond the facts of the case. There has to be some certainty in medical admission and some order in the lives of the students."
"HC has taken a view that on the interpretation of the rule, we'll be trusting the HC for the same. Now at the last minute for us to start, we'll have to grant a stay and everything will be dislocated. Let students pursue their education, you know," the judge further added.
While expressing its inclination to dismiss the petition, Justice DY Chandrachud said, "Not necessary, somebody comes in time next year, we'll consider. Dismissed. We'll not entertain. Let it be settled now. We are not entertaining the SLP."
Although the bench dismissed the SLP, it kept the question of law open.
Case Title: Yogendra Singh Thakur V. The State Of Madhya Pradesh And Ors.| SLP(C) No. 7104-7105/2022
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