Reservation on Medical PG Seats To In-Service Candidates Valid-SC

On Monday a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Indira Banerjee, Justice Vineet Saran, Justice M.R. Shah and Justice Aniruddha Bose, has settled the law with respect to power of State Governments to provide for reservation to in-service candidates in the matter of Post Graduate Admission, vis-a-vis power of Medical Council of India to make regulation with respect to reservation for admission in Post Graduate Course. The verdict has been delivered in the case of Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association & Ors vs Union of India and Others (Writ Petition (Civil) 196 of 2018). Justice Aniruddha Bose gave a separate but concurring Judgment.

Issues framed by Court:

  1.  What is the  scope and ambit of Entry 66  of List I?
  2. What  will  be   the   impact/effect  of   MCI  Regulations, 2000 framed by  the  Medical Council of India in exercise of its powers under  Section  33   of  the  Indian Medical Council  Act,956?
  3. Whether in  view   of  Entry  66   of  List  I,  the   State  is denuded of its power to  legislate on  the  manner and method of the    postgraduate   medical   courses,   more  particularly, making  special  provisions  for in­service  candidates  in  the postgraduate degree/diploma courses?
  4. Whether Regulation 9  of  MCI Regulations, 2000, more particularly,  Regulation 9(IV) and 9(VII) takes away the  power of   the   States  under  Entry  25   of   List  III  to   provide for a separate source of entry for in­service candidates seeking admission to postgraduate medical courses?
  5. Whether  Regulation 9 of MCI Regulations, 2000  is understood  to   not allow for the States to provide for a separate source of entry for in­service candidates seeking admission to postgraduate degree  courses, the same is arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of Articles 14  and 19(1) (g)  of  the   Constitution  of  India,  and  also ultra  vires of  the provisions of the  Indian Medical Council Act, 1956?
  6. Whether Regulation  9  is a  complete code   in itself, as observed by  this Court in the  case of  Dinesh Singh Chauhan (supra)  affecting the  rights/authority of  the  States to  provide for reservation and/or  separate source of  entry for in­service candidates    seeking    admission    to postgraduate    degree courses?

Conclusions of Court:

  1. Entry 66 List I is a specific entry having a very limited scope;
  2. It deals with “coordination  and determination of  standards” in higher education;
  3. The words “coordination and determination  of standards    would   mean   laying   down   the   said standards;
  4. Medical Council of India which has been constituted under  the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956  is  the  creature of   the statute  in exercise of  powers under Entry  66 List  I and  has  no power to make any provision for reservation, more particularly, for in­service  candidates by the concerned States,  in exercise of powers under Entry 25 List III;
  5. Regulation  9  of   MCI  Regulations,  2000 does not deal with and/or make provisions for reservation and/or affect the legislative competence and  authority of the concerned States to make reservation and/or make special  provision like the provision providing for a separate source of  entry for in­service candidates  seeking  admission  to postgraduate degree courses and therefore the concerned States to be within their authority and/or legislative  competence to provide for a separate source of entry for  in­service candidates seeking admission to postgraduate degree courses in exercise of powers under Entry 25 of  List III;
  6. If it is held that Regulation 9, more particularly, Regulation 9(IV) deals with reservation for in­service  candidates, in that case, it  will be ultra vires of  the Indian Medical  Council Act, 1956 and it  will  be beyond the  legislative competence under Entry 66 List I.;
  7. Regulation  9 of  MCI  Regulations, 2000 to the extent  tinkering  with  reservation  provided  by  the State  for in­service candidates is ultra vires on  the ground that  it  is  arbitrary,  discriminatory  and violative of  Articles 14 and 21 of  the Constitution of India;
  8. The State has the legislative competence and/or authority to provide for  a separate source of entry for in­service candidates seeking admission to postgraduate  degree/diploma courses, in exercise of powers  under  Entry 25,  List   III. However, it  is observed that policy must provide  that subsequent to obtaining the postgraduate degree by the concerned in­service doctors obtaining entry in degree courses through such separate channel serve the State in the rural, tribal and hilly areas at least for five  years  after  obtaining  the  degree/diploma and for that  they will execute bonds for such sum the respective States  may consider fit and proper; and
  9. It  is specifically observed and clarified that the present decision shall operate prospectively and any admissions given earlier taking a contrary view shall not be  affected by this judgment.

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