Maratha quota in PG medical admissions: State government moves Supreme court
New Delhi: Stating that two rounds of the admission process has already been held and preparing a revised list now, will be unjust; the Maharashtra Government has challenged the Bombay High Court’s recent verdict of ruling out the decision of implementing 16 per cent Maratha quota to PG medical admissions process this year; before the Supreme Court.
While the HC order brought delight to open category (meritorious) PG medical aspirants, it had left the State Common Entrance Test Cell (Maha CET Cell) and Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), which are conducting the counselling for Maharashtra medical colleges; in a fix.
On May 4, the division bench of honourable Justices Sunil Shukre and Pushpa Ganediwala ruled in their order that the March 8 notification about the implementation of the new 16 per cent reservation for the Maratha community, under the Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) quota; shall not be applicable to the PG medical admission process, which had started earlier.
In response to the HC order, the state moved the apex court seeking an ex-parte stay on the High Court's judgment and leave to file an appeal against the said judgment.
On November 30 last year, the Maharashtra Legislature had passed a bill proposing 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas, declared SEBC by the government and hence it decided to grant them the reservation.
Medical Dialogues had been extensively reporting about the reservation issues in PG medical admissions that continued to upset meritorious MBBS pass outs in the state.
As of now, in Maharashtra, 50 % of medical seats in government-run medical colleges are for reserved category (SC/ST/OBC/ VJNT). Out of the other 50% which is known as the open category; 14% of seats go to Persons with Disability (PwD), defence and other quotas. There is also a special quota (depending on eligible candidates) for students from the reserved categories who are eligible for an open quota seat based on their scores, ranging from 3%-5%.
In addition, 10% has been fixed for medical students belonging to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota.
Further, the implementation of 16% Maratha quota was done which left a meagre 5 % for candidates vying medical admission on merit basis.
This “policy” indeed created a stir in the admission process. The medical students, who could only take admission via merit, were anxious since there is, evidently, tough competition in medical admissions and with over 16 % quota gulping over the merit quota, the competition has become tougher than ever.
The petitioners, in their pleas challenging the quota, had said that no state government could exceed the 50 per cent mark in reservations.
During the course of hearing since weeks, the government maintained before the HC that the Maratha quota and creation of the new category were legal and valid.
In the hearing where the Maratha quota was ruled out, the bench had issued the following directions:
We direct that the notification dated 8.3.2019,insofar as medical admission process is concerned, shall be applied to the medical admissions the procedure for which has started or would start on or after 30th November, 2018, subject to result of any other writ petition, if pending, and the notification would have no application to the present medical admission process 2019 which began w.e.f. 16th October, 2018 and 2nd November, 2018 respectively.
Consequently, it is also directed that the revised provisional seat matrix published on 27.3.2019, insofar as it makes a provision for the category of SEBC candidates, being illegal, shall not be given effect to for the limited purpose of SEBC reservation in current admission process. The respondents, however, would conduct the admission process and complete it in accordance with applicable law, rules and orders before commencement of the SEBC Act, 2018.
Now, aggrieved with the said order, the State moved SC with a Special Leave Petition arguing that according to the schedule provided by the Medical Council of India (MCI), the entire admission process for State quota is required to be completed by May 12.
Livelaw reports about the petition filed by the Maharashtra government which states, "The admission process had started, interference in the said process would create a great degree of confusion. Thus, in view of completion of two rounds of admission the situation has become irreversible"
In its petition, the state argued, "The object of the SEBC Act, 2018 is to make provision for advancement of socially and educationally backward class citizens in a manner which would afford full opportunity to these classes of citizens to bloom in all their colours and shades while, at the same time, not letting wither the other promising students belonging to other categories by suddenly reducing their chances to secure admission in the current admission process."
Further, the SLP went on to add, "50% seats are filled under the All India Quota by the agency appointed by the Central Government and remaining 50% seats are filled by the State Government through Competent Authority appointed under the Act of 2015. As per Section 4(a) of the Act of 2018, the Competent Authority has given reservation of 16% of the 50% seats to be filled in by the State Government to the SEBCs."
"The action of the State Authorities of distribution of seats to the candidates belonging to Socially and Educationally. Backward Class is in accordance with law and the same is perfectly legal and valid," the state added in its submission.
DNA adds that the government in its SLP argued that the High Court did not consider that the case in hand relates only to the state quota of 50 per cent seats. ''If plain meaning is given to the applicability of SEBC Act, 2018, it becomes clear that its provisions are applicable to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test postgraduate (NEET-PG) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Master of Dental Surgery (NEET-MDS) courses in view of the publication of the notice dated February 20, 2019. The High Court should have considered enactment in the light of its object,'' stated the government.