Supreme Court: The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B. R. Gavai, JJ., directed the Madhya Pradesh High Court to immediately decided the validity of 100% reservation in more than 600 Post Graduate medical seats in the State of Madhya Pradesh.
The Bench was addressing the Special Leave Petition (SLP) preferred by the Association of Private Medical Colleges whereby the validity of 100% reservation of their seats for domicile candidates of M.P. or those candidates who had completed their M.B.B.S. from any Medical college (Govt. or Pvt.) was challenged. The contention raised through the SLP was with regard to the adjournment order passed by the High Court, whereby the Court had deferred final hearing on the matter stating that the issue of reservation for domicile candidates in PG Medical Courses is already pending before the Larger Bench of the Supreme Court in Tanvi Behl v. Shrey Goel, (2020) 13 SCC 675.
The State of M.P. had incorporated mandatory Eligibility conditions of being a domicile of the State of M.P. for admission to PG Medical/Dental Courses in its admission rules for admission to Private Medical and Dental Colleges. Noticeably, around 650 seats constitute the pool of admission to PG Courses in the State of Madhya Pradesh for both Clinical as well as Non-clinical branches. As per the Admission Rules of 2018, the first priority is to be given to the candidates possessing domicile of the State of Madhya Pradesh or those having an MBBS degree from any medical college of the State of Madhya Pradesh.
The said conditions stands relaxed in the event of availability of a candidate who has completed his M.B.B.S. from any Medical college of the State. The seats get unlocked for admission to the students from other States and All India Merit List only after completion of first round of counseling from the second round onwards, that too when the first two categories are exhausted.
Grounds for Challenge
The Association of Private Medical Colleges had challenged these clauses as ultra vires Article 19(1)(g) as also the Parent Act of M.P. Niji Vyavsayik Shikshan Sanstha (Pravesh Ka Viniyaman Avam Shulk Ka Nirdharan) Adhiniyam, 2007 on the following grounds:
- The impugned conditions were in excess of the delegation of powers to the rule making authority by the parent Act.
- The reservation on the ground of domicile are unpalatable and incompatible with Medical Colleges’ ‘Fundamental Right to admit students of their choice’, when they are forced to provide admission to the important branches of the PG Medical Course (Clinicals) to the State domicile candidates, thus being precluded from giving admissions to far more meritorious candidates from the All India Merit List.
Stand taken by the Association of Private Medical Colleges
The Association had approached the Supreme Court on being aggrieved by the High Court’s rejection to stay the counseling in the year 2019. Finding the questions of law to be of vital importance, the Supreme Court had opined that their resolution could not brook any delay and had directed the High Court to decide the matter as expeditiously as possible.
The Association pleaded that the High Court had failed to adhere to the direction made by the Supreme Court of expeditious disposal and kept deferring its Final Adjudication on one pretext or the other. The Association contended that repeated adjournments and deferral of the hearings had brought them close onto the heels of counseling process for PG Medical Courses for the year 2021-22 and it was extremely necessary that the High Court must be asked to take up the petition and decide at the earliest. It also pleaded that mere reference to Larger Bench could not be resorted as an excuse by the High Court to defer the final disposal of the petition ad infinitum.
Directions by the Supreme Court
Observing that the matter pertained to the reservations in Post Graduate Medical Courses and the Court had already directed the High Court to dispose of the matter expeditiously by an order dated 15-07-2019, the Bench directed the High Court to dispose of the matter on 25-08-2021.[Association of Private Universities, Madhya Pradesh v. State of M.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 638, decided on 16-08-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For Petitioner(s) Mr. Siddharth R. Gupta, Adv.
Mr. Mrigank Prabhakar, AOR
Mr. Yash Mittal, Adv.