NO Maratha quota for PG Medical Admissions this year: Bombay High Court holds Reservation Arbitrary
Nagpur: Holding the decision of implementing 16 percent Maratha quota to PG medical admission process this year; as “arbitrary”, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has set aside the reservation.
The HC noted that the PG medical admission process had already commenced at the time when the quota came into force.
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 admission process, which had started earlier, reports PTI.
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.
In response to the newly implemented Maratha quota included in the admissions brochure, many petitions were moved to the HC by PG medical and dental aspirants.
Medical Dialogues had been extensively reporting about the reservation issues in Post-Graduate (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.
Noting the meagre percentage of seats, the PG medical aspirants had filed various petitions with the HC, which after considering the number of pleas had earlier directed that no admission will take place until the court announces order regarding the implementation.
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 was legal and valid.
Former advocate general arguing for a stay on the quota implementation for 2019-20, argued that the admission process had begun before the law was notified in November and Section 16 (2) of the SEBC Act, the legality and constitutional validity of which is under challenge, provides that it would not apply where the admission process has already been initiated before the coming into force of the act. The high court accepted the state submissions that admissions would be subject to the final outcome of the challenge to the validity of the act.
These petitioners argued that Marathas were not socially backward.
Now, finally giving its verdict on the matter, the HC Bench held,
This is how we have considered the effect of the notification dated 8.3.2019 and so we find that there is no need for us to say any further that it is unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
the revised seat matrix published on 27.3.2019 providing for reservation of SEBC candidates has to be held and is held as arbitrary, violative of the mandate of Section 16(2) of the SEBC Act, 2018 and as being not in accordance with the procedure established by law inasmuch as it creates unequal competition and violates principles of rule of law, hit by the rigor of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India and as such deserves to be quashed and set aside
To our mind, the note given in the information brochure and also the category of SEBC candidates separately shown in the list of applicants published on 6.3.2019 would be of no consequence.
The bench 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.