MBBS Admissions at GMC Chandigarh 32: Domicile Criteria matter reaches Supreme Court
Chandigarh: The issue on the rules of MBBS admission to Government Medical College and Hospital Sector-32 Chandigarh (GMC Chandigarh) has apparently gone up to the Supreme Court in pursuance to the recent July 4, 2019, judgment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In the July 4 orders, the HC bench comprising Justice Daya Chaudhary and Justice Sudhir Mittal had quashed the section of the domicile criteria set by the Union Territory (UT) Chandigarh Administration which mandated that in the year 2019, the eligibility criteria for aspirants seeking admission to MBBS course would be only 10+2, in 2020 it will be 10+1 & 10+2 and in 2021 it shall be 10th, 10+1 & 10+2 from Chandigarh based schools.
However, the bench had upheld other criteria prescribed by the administration through which it has made the candidates eligible for MBBS admission under the UT quota whose parents are residents of Chandigarh for the past 5 years or whose parents are employees and are on deputation to the UT administration.
The high court had observed that providing a preference for students domiciled in a particular State is constitutional.
"A window has been kept open for students from the neighbouring states to seek admission in Chandigarh only after passing Class XII examination from a school situated in the UT…
… This violates the rights of students domiciled in Chandigarh as such students are subjected to an unfair competition from students belonging to the neighbouring states whereas students domiciled in the neighbouring states are not subjected to any such competition from students of Chandigarh. Thus, the UT administration has failed in its duty to protect the interest of its own students probably on account of the fact that the administration is run by officers on deputation from the state of Punjab and Haryana who prevail upon the policy-making authorities keeping in view the interests of their own children."
Further, clarifying that MBBS candidates who have sought the benefit of residence in any other state would be debarred from claiming seats in any other states/UT Chandigarh, the HC stated,
"The admitting authorities will, therefore, scrutinize the cases of all the incumbents whosoever has opted and claimed the benefit of residence in any other state would not be entitled to admission in UT, Chandigarh. Needless to say that all-India rank in NEET shall be kept intact in considering the claims of those desirous of seeking admission to UT, Chandigarh"
"The impugned policy decision does ensure that students who have applied in other States cannot apply to a medical institution in U.T. Chandigarh, however, for the Academic Session 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, it still permits students who have not studied upto class X in Chandigarh, to take admission in U.T. Chandigarh, exposing the students domiciled in U.T. Chandigarh to additional competition. This, in itself, is unfair to the students domiciled in U.T. Chandigarh, and it is, thus, unfair advantage that has been criticized in the judgment of Ashu Hooda's case (supra). Thus, the vice of arbitrariness still exists in the impugned criterion."
Medical Dialogues had last year reported about the mentioned Ashu Hooda case where the HC held as "arbitrary" the condition in the residence clause which allows 'students even from outside states to become eligible after passing class XII examination from institutes recognized by UT Chandigarh without insisting on the residence as an essential eligibility condition.'
Now, after the HC passed its order directing UT Administration to make admissions to the MBBS course in GMC Chandigarh, a group of students seeking admissions to the medical college knocked the apex court's doors challenging the HC decision.
While fixing the matter for July 18 for further hearing, a division bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M R Shah asked those candidates on whose petition the high court had passed the order and the Chandigarh administration to file their replies, reports TOI.
In April, the domicile condition for PG medical courses at the GMC was held as invalid and "unsustainable to law" by the HC. "The only course available to the college is to fill up the seats through merit position obtained by candidates in NEET examination, the HC had directed.