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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Centre's decision for quota in medical PG not binding on states, says SC

NEW DELHI: In a ruling having a major ramification for medical education, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that the Centre's decision to provide quota for SCs and STs in post-graduate medical courses did not automatically bind the state governments to follow suit and implement it in their medical colleges.

It took note of the fact that the Centre has provided for reservation to SC and ST candidates in the All India Entrance Examination for MD/MS/PG Diploma and MDS courses and also in the All-India quota PG seats, but firmly handed down the ruling that "the same cannot automatically be applied in other sections where state governments have power to regulate."

Moreover, the Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal appeared disinclined to grant a direction to the states to follow the example set by the central government. It upheld the Haryana government's decision not to provide quota for SC/ST in PG medical courses.

"In our view, every state can take its own decision with regard to reservation depending on various factors," said Justice Sathasivam writing the judgment for the Bench.

It said: "Article 15(4) is an enabling provision and the state government is the best judge to grant reservation for SC/ST/Backward Class categories at PG level in admissions and the decision of the state of Haryana not to make any provision for reservation at the PG level suffers no infirmity."

It accepted the Bhupinder Hooda government's explanation that reservation in under-graduate medical courses is being provided strictly as per their policy but the PG level education in medical education was governed by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
It noted that "even the MCI has not followed strict adherence to the rule of reservation in admisions for SC/ST category at the post-graduate level."

"In such circumstances, the court cannot issue mandamus (to the state) against their decision and their prospectus also cannot be faulted for not providing reservation in PG courses," the Bench said dismissing appeals filed by one DR Gulshan Prakash faulting the Haryana government's decision not to provide reservation in PG-level medical courses in Maharshi Dayanand University.

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