Maharashtra: The Nagpur bench of Bombay HC has refused to scrap the 70% regional quota for medical admissions. The state government can now continue to provide medical admissions under the 70-30 formula. This decision by the court is also finds favor with the state government, which continues to hold it stand that regional quota is important for providing medical admission for students from backward regions. The state government included backward regions like Vidarbha and Marathwada in its observation on the matter.
As reported by a local newspaper, a division bench consisting of Justice Vasanti Naik and Justice Swapna Joshi after hearing the matter at length and after hearing Officiating Advocate General Rohit Deo made it clear that there was no need to disrupt the admission process and criterion at this juncture and it was for the executive to take a call about devising mode of admissions. However, looking at the importance of the issue, the High Court admitted the petition for final hearing, but turned down request to grant any interim relief.
Earlier, a petition was filed in the court by a group of four parents. Together, they alleged that a raw deal to Vidarbha and Marathwada vis-a-vis Rest of Maharashtra, only put the medical admissions for merit-based students from Vidarbha and Marathwada at a disadvantage in comparison to those secured under regional quota.
The petitioners implied that the regional quota is “unjustified, irrational and unconstitutional”. They also perceived the quota in violation of the fundamental basis of admissions, which should be based on merit only. Their argument also found ground on the fact that with students being given admission on the basis of CET and, with colleges are under one University (MUHS); then, the region-wise distribution is completely unjustified. It is also arbitrary, giving more opportunities to less meritorious students, it further alleged; with meritorious students of Marathwada and Vidarbha areas remaining deprived of admissions based on merit.
The regional discrimination is constitutionally permissible to give a helping hand to students from backward region, but regional quota of 70% is leading to opposite result wherein more meritorious students from backward regions like Vidarbha and Marathwada in each category are unable to secure admission in Government Medical Colleges, claimed Adv Bhanudas Kulkarni while appearing for the aggrieved parents and urged the High Court to scrap the legally untenable region wise distribution of First Year seats. The petitioners demanded that process of First Year medical admissions be undertaken by providing only three quotas – 15% (All India quota) 3% (physically challenged) and 82% (State quota), strictly on the basis of State Merit List, from the current academic year (2016-17).
Another media report implied that the many medical aspirants hailing from Vidarbha have not scored well in MH-CET. The results are poor in comparison to students in rest of Maharashtra (ROM). The news was by associate advocate general (AAG) Rohit Deo to the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court during the hearing of the plea to scrap the 70% quota. It may be noted, that MH-CET, which was conducted on May 5 has no such reserved quotas.
In addition, he also presented the data of last three years to content the fact that general/open category students from Vidarbha have only unduly benefitted from the regional quota ranks. He cited the merit list as a proof for medical admissions from 1 to 5,000, which in turn, presented the on-ground facts. Vidarbha students were clearly less in numbers in comparison to ROM, as highlighted in the merit list. There were only 1,100 candidates from the region which qualifies on merit basis. Only if the quota was removed, a real picture for deserving candidates would emerge, he implied in addition.
Besides, Deo’s argument in the court was also based on the fact that students from reserved categories, including SC, ST and OBCs, were also affected because of the regional quota.
At present, the state offers medical admissions through region-wise quota, under which 70 per cent seats seat reservation is for candidates from noted regions like Vidarbha, Marathwada and Rest of Maharashtra for colleges situated within the same region. There are 950 seats of MBBS in Vidarbha, 500 seats in Marathwada and 1610 in Rest of Maharashtra in medical colleges run by Government.
From next year, even the Government seats will be filled on the basis of NEET score, but as per State merit list where regional quotas will ensure at least 70 seats are filled from students belonging to particular region. Due to 70% regional quota, last year, 47 open category students in Vidarbha and 195 open category students in Marathwada, 85 OBC students in Vidarbha and 40 OBC students in Marathwada and 39 more meritorious students from Vidarbha in SC category and 35 from Marathwada belonging to same category were deprived from admission, the petitioner had claimed.