Supreme Court: The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant, JJ has directed the State of Madhya Pradesh to allot a post graduate seat in Obstetrics and Gynecology at GMC, Bhopal to a lady doctor after noticing that she was entitled to incentive marks as per a State policy.

The appellant, a mother of a 5-year-old, has been working as a Medical Officer with the State of Madhya Pradesh on a regular basis for over 11 years. Out of the 11 years of service, she has served for 6 years in District Betul which is a notified tribal district and has served in a Community Health Centre at Katangi in the District of Balaghat for the remaining period.

It is important to note that the State of Madhya Pradesh has a policy of 30% reservation for In-Service doctors, employed with the State as also granting them the incentive marks at the rate of 10 % marks per year upto a maximum of 30% marks. However, for getting the same, as per the applicable procedure the Chief Medical Health Officer (CMHO) of the concerned District has to forward a No Objection Certificate (NOC) in the requisite format to the Directorate of Health Services of Madhya Pradesh (DHS) which in turn forwards it to the Department of Medical Education, Madhya Pradesh (DME). After the receipt of NOC by the DME, any Medical Officer employed with the State is categorised as an ‘In-Service Doctor’ and made eligible for the benefit of 30% reservation as also the 30% incentive marks.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court had dismissed the Writ Petition of the Petitioner on the ground that the clock cannot be set back as allotment for 2nd Round of counselling were over and the Petitioner could not procure and produce the NOC in time for suiting her eligibility and entitlement as an In-Service candidate, which disentitled her from any benefits. It was, however, argued before the Supreme Court that the High Court proceeded on a grossly and factually erroneous ground that the Petitioner never registered for the Counselling, when the said fact was never disputed by the State and the Petitioner herself had filed the document proving her online Registration with the State as per the prescribed procedure available on the official portal of the DME, MP.

The Supreme Court held that as an in-service candidate, the appellant was entitled to the award of incentive marks in accordance with the applicable rules and would, hence, be also entitled to the allotment of the vacant seat which was set apart in the interim order dated 11.04.2022, wherein one seat was directed to be kept vacant in the MS Obstetrics and Gynecology in GMC, Bhopal.

The said observation came after noticing that the issue at hand only pertained to whether there was compliance with procedural requirements. The appellant secured 317 marks in the NEET–PG entrance examination and considering that in-service candidates are entitled to the allocation of certain preference marks, the eligibility of the appellant as an in-service candidate was not disputed.

The Court, hence, directed the State of Madhya Pradesh to process the application of the appellant as an in-service candidate and award her incentive marks in accordance with law. On that basis, the appellant be allotted the seat kept vacant for her.

[Rajni Shende v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 504, decided on 18.04.2022]

For Petitioner(s): Siddharth R Gupta, Adv, Abhikalp Pratap Singh, AOR, Shivam Baghel, Adv., Sunita Gupta, Adv., Pranjal Agarwal, Adv.

For Respondent(s): Saurabh Mishra, AAG and Mrinal Elker Mazumdar, Adv.

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