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Reservation to In-service Doctors in PG: SC

  • 01 Sep 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Supreme Court has allowed states to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) postgraduate degree courses.

  • The five-judge Constitution Bench of the apex court also held that the Medical Council of India (MCI) has no power to provide or not provide reservation for in-service doctors in admission to PG courses.
    • MCI is a creation of a statute under Entry 66 of List-I of the Constitution and its role is to coordinate and determine the standards of medical education.
      • Entry 66 of List-I: Coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.

Key Points

  • The Bench held that MCI regulations barring such reservations are unconstitutional and arbitrary and that the state legislature has the authority to provide reservation for in-service doctors.
    • It held that a State has the legislative competence and authority to provide for a separate source of entry for in-service candidates seeking admission to postgraduate degree/diploma courses in the exercise of powers under Entry 25 of 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.
  • It has asked states to formulate a scheme for rural/remote service by in-service doctors after completing PG degree and the doctors must sign a bond for five years in service in such areas.
  • Background:
    • Doctors from Kerala, Maharashtra, and Haryana filed a petition challenging the validity of the Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations 2000, framed by the MCI.
      • 50% seats in PG diploma courses are reserved for medical officers in the government service but the MCI regulations barred it in PG degree courses.
      • All the admission to PG degree courses are conducted through the NEET and 50% seats are filled through all India quota and the remaining 50% from state quota.
    • Doctors held that granting reservation benefits would encourage those working in government hospitals and rural areas.
      • The in-service candidates, due to their work, hardly find time to study and it becomes tough for them to compete with the general merit candidates.
    • The Central government and the MCI opposed the plea contending that granting reservations or a separate source of entry for in-service candidates would directly impinge on the authority of MCI and its regulations.

Source: TH

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