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Reservation in Super-speciality Medical Courses: SC

  • 26 Nov 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has reserved its order on the state governments providing a 50% in-service reservation for admissions to super-speciality medical courses (Doctorate of Medicine/DM and Master of Chirurgiae/M. Ch.) in government colleges for the academic year 2020-21.

Key Points

  • In August 2020, the SC allowed states to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) postgraduate (PG) degree courses.
  • The judgment held that the state has the legislative competence and authority to provide for a separate source of entry for in-service candidates seeking admission to PG/diploma courses in the exercise of powers under Entry 25, List III.
    • Entry 25 of List-III: Education, including technical education, medical education and universities, subject to the provisions of entries 63, 64, 65 and 66 of List I; vocational and technical training of labour.
      • The Constitution provides for a three-fold distribution of legislative subjects between the Union and the states, which are List-I (the Union List), List-II (the State List) and List-III (the Concurrent List), described in the seventh schedule.
  • In November 2020, Tamil Nadu government allowed counselling and filling of 50% of the super-speciality seats in the government medical colleges with in-service candidates in the state.
    • The seats would be filled with candidates who have cleared NEET-Super Speciality Courses (SS) and the selection committee of the Directorate of Medical Education would prepare the merit list and conduct counselling.
      • The state government argued that there was an acute need for super-speciality qualified doctors both in the medical academia and in practice.
    • After 50% of seats in DM/M. Ch. courses in government medical colleges are allocated to in-service candidates, the rest will be surrendered to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
      • DGHS is a repository of technical knowledge concerning public health, medical education and health care. It is an attached organisation of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Doctors, including PG holders qualified in NEET 2020, challenged the decision saying that there is no concept of any reservation for admission to super-speciality medical courses.
    • They referred to the verdict in Dr Preeti Srivastava & Anr. versus State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors, 1999 which held that “merit, and merit alone, is the basis for admission at the super-speciality level”.
  • Their appeal argued that the State order was contrary to the Postgraduate Medical Education (Amendment) Regulations of 2019, which mandated that the DGHS should be in charge of the admission process.
    • The regulations empower DGHS to conduct the counselling for all super-speciality courses in medical educational institutions of the Central and state governments, deemed universities, medical educational institutions established by municipal bodies, trusts, etc.

Source: TH

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