NEET PG 2020: Supreme Court Upholds Validity of Institutional quota in PG Medical admissions
New Delhi: In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has held that "Institutional Preference" in the Post Graduate (PG) medical admissions is permitted even after the introduction of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for PG medical courses- NEET PG.
This observation by the bench of Honorable justices Arun Mishra, Justice MR Shah and Justice BR Gavai came in view of the SLP which challenged the “Institutional Preference” in the Post Graduate Medical Courses. The petitioners had earlier moved the Gujarat High Court which didn’t rule their favour and hence they preferred the SLP with the apex court.
The petitioners challenged the validity of "institutional preference" in PG medical admissions alleged that with the introduction of NEET, which brings about the change to the effect that all admissions to the Post Graduate Medical Courses should be only on the basis of merit in the NEET, as per Regulation 9 of the Post Graduate Medical Education Admission Regulations, 2000, now “Institutional Preference” would not be permissible and the same shall be ultra vires the Medical Council Act and the Regulations, 2000 and contrary to NEET.
The purpose due to which such “Institutional Reservation” was held permissible by this Court no longer exists as now there exists 50% All India Quota and the admission is also done on the basis of NEET, the petition stated.
Even the Medical Council of India (MCI) Regulations for the Post Graduate Admissions, namely, Regulations, 2000 do not permit “Institutional Reservation”, the petition further alleged
In response to these contentions, the MCI stated that admission to Post Graduate Medical Courses in the medical colleges is done on the basis of the NEET merit and 50% seats are filled up on merit drawn on “All India basis” and 50% seats are filled up on merit drawn on “Statewise basis”. It was submitted that earlier the Gujarat University used to hold examinations for Post Graduate Medical Courses and now instead of such test by the Gujarat University, merit is to be determined on the basis of NEET examination results.
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After hearing the submissions from the both sides, the bench observed that the Institutional Preference to the extent of 50% has been approved by the Supreme Court in various judgments.
Whether after the introduction of the NEET Scheme, still the “Institutional Preference” in the Post Graduate Medical Courses would be permissible?—the bench noted
Reaching its decision, the SC bench observed that right from 1971 onwards till 2017, consistently it has approved and/or permitted the "Institutional Preference" in the Post Graduate Medical Courses. It further held that the introduction of the NEET has, as such, nothing to do with any preference/Institutional Preference, more particularly the "Institutional Preference". The bench observed:
It is required to be noted that introduction of the NEET has, as such, nothing to do with any preference/Institutional Preference, more particularly the “Institutional Preference” as approved by this Court time and again. The purpose and object of the introduction of the NEET was to conduct a uniform entrance examination for all medical educational institutions at the undergraduate level or post- graduate level and admissions at the undergraduate level and postgraduate level are to be given solely on the basis of the merits and/or marks obtained in the NEET examination only. It is required to be noted that earlier the respective universities including the Gujarat University used to hold examination for postgraduate admission to medical courses and now instead of such tests by the Gujarat University/concerned universities, merit is to be determined on the basis of the NEET examination results only and admissions are required to be given on the basis of such merits or marks obtained in NEET. The only obligation by virtue of introduction of NEET is that, once centralized admission test is conducted, the State, its agencies, universities and institutions cannot hold any separate test for the purpose of admission to PostGraduate and PG and Diploma Courses and such seats are to be filled up by the State agencies, universities/institutions for preparing merit list as per the score obtained by the applicants in NEET examination and therefore by introduction of the NEET, Section 10D of the MCI, Act has been amended, consequently amendment to the PostGraduate Education Regulations, 2000, admission to Post Graduate Courses are made providing for solely on the basis of the score secured by the candidates seeking admission based on centralized examination, i.e., NEET.
Even while giving admissions in the State quota/institutional reservation quota, still the admissions are required to be given on the basis of the merits determined on the basis of the NEET examination results. Under the circumstances, introduction of the NEET Scheme, as such, has nothing to do with the “Institutional Preference”. Therefore, the change by introduction of the NEET Scheme shall not affect the Institutional Preference/Reservation as approved by this Court from time to time in catena of decisions, more particularly the decisions referred to hereinabove. Under the guise of introduction of the NEET Scheme, the petitioners cannot be permitted to reagitate and/or reopen the issue with respect to Institutional Preference which has been approved and settled by this Court in catena of decisions, more particularly the decisions referred to hereinabove.
In its verdict on the case, the apex court held that as per the observations in its hearing and decisions of court made in previous cases:
Institutional Preference to the extent of 50% is approved and it is observed and held that introduction of the NEET Scheme shall not affect such Institutional Preference/Reservation. Such a regulation providing 50% Institutional Preference/Reservation shall not be in any way ultra vires to Section 10D of the MCI Act. Even otherwise, as observed hereinabove, even in the case of Institutional Preference/Reservation, the admissions in the post graduate courses are to be given on the basis of the merits and marks obtained in the NEET examination result only.
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Attached is the detailed judgment below