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reservation

No reservation for in-service Doctors this year: Supreme Court

There will be reduction of 50% of seats in Super Specialty courses in Tamil Nadu if the Government Order is carried out, which is detrimental to their chances of admission. Admittedly no reservation for in-service Doctors was implemented since 2016. And, no reservation could be permitted for in-service Doctors for this year, as the admission process is at the final stages, this was held in the case of Dr. Prerit Sharma &Ors. v. Dr. Bilu B.S. & Ors.(W.P.(C) No. 1299 of 2020)

Writ Petition was filed by Dr. Bilu B.S., the Respondent No.1. in the appeal arising out of SLP (C) No.12891 of 2020 in the Kerala High Court seeking implementation of reservation to 40 per cent of the seats in Super Specialty Medical Courses for in-service Doctors in terms of the law laid down by this Court in Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association v. Union of India (2020) SCC Online P. 699. By an order dated 05.10.2020, a learned Single Judge of the Kerala High Court refused to grant stay of counselling to the 40 per cent seats for in-service quota. Aggrieved thereby, the first Respondent filed the Writ Appeal which was allowed by a Division Bench of the High Court of Kerala by an order dated 07.10.2020. And further, Directorate of Medical Education, New Delhi and, Director General, Health Services were directed to follow the order and take subsequent actions.

The said order of Kerala High Court on 07.10.2020, was challenged by the Petitioners who are post-graduate degree holders in Medicine and who have qualified the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), 2020 for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses for the academic year 2020-2021. And subsequently the counselling was postponed by the National Medical Commission.

The petitioners contended that, it is not possible to implement the direction issued by the High Court in its order dated 07.10.2020 for the current academic year i.e. 2020-2021. Also, the information bulletin for the entrance examination for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses has already been issued in which no reservation has been provided for in-service candidates, it is practically impossible to introduce any new reservation norms for the current academic year as the admission process has already commenced.

However, the respondents argued that administrative inconvenience cannot be a ground to interfere with the order passed by the High Court directing implementation of reservation to in-service doctors in accordance with the Kerala Medical Officers Admission to Postgraduate Courses under Service Quota Act, 2008. And thus, this Court should not interfere with the order passed by the High Court as it would result in immense loss to the in-service doctors in the State of Kerala.

The court was of opinion that, “The process for admissions to Super Specialty Medical Courses started on 03.08.2020 and it was made clear to all the competing candidates that there shall be no reservation to Super Specialty Medical Courses. The Government order issued by the State of Tamil Nadu on 07.11.2020 reserving 50 per cent seats for in-service doctors would be detrimental to the interests of the meritorious Doctors as 50 per cent of the available seats in the State of Tamil Nadu in Super Specialty Medical Courses will not be available to them.”

Conclusively, the court directed that “the counselling for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses for the academic year 2020- 2021 shall proceed by the competent authority without providing for reservations to in-service doctors for the academic year 2020-2021. However, court reiterated that the above direction would be operative only for the current academic year i.e. 2020-2021.”

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