PG Medical Admissions: Supreme Court Warns Maharashtra Govt of CONTEMPT for Virtually Overriding its Order
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has threatened of contempt proceedings against Maharashtra government for "virtually overriding" its order in which the apex court had stayed the 10 per cent quota to students of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in PG medical and dental admissions for this academic year.
A vacation bench comprising honourable Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna also extended till June 4 the deadline for concluding the PG Medical admission process asking the Maharashtra government to refresh the merit list after excluding the EWS category students.
The decision came in view of the clause of the notice issued by the Maharashtra State Common Entrance Test Cell (Maha CET Cell) on Thursday after the SC had passed the earlier order.
Medical Dialogues has recently reported that the Supreme Court had held that 10 per cent quota for EWS students cannot be applied to PG medical admissions in Maharashtra for this academic year as admission process has started long before the provision came into force.
The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill on providing 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education to the general category poor was passed by Parliament on January 9.
On the part of increasing seats in view of EWS reservation implementation, last month, taking a cue from the Ministry of Health regarding bringing of 10 per cent EWS quota in PG medical seats at government medical colleges across the country, the MCI had written to the various state governments and medical colleges asking them to provide preliminary details for the same.
However, 10 per cent reservations in the general category for the EWS in medical courses in Maharashtra had been challenged in the Bombay High Court by many students. The petitioners contended that the decision is discriminatory as it takes the overall reservation to 76 per cent, leaving very few seats for remaining students in the open category.
Later, in response to a plea filed by a student from General Category saying that unless additional seats are created, the ten per cent EWS quota will eat into their share of seats, the Apex court noted that admission process for PG medical courses started in November 2018 while the 103 Constitutional amendments granting 10 per cent EWS quota was passed in January this year.
In pursuance of the SC order, the Maha CET had issued a notice. The relevant part of the notice is mentioned below:
The following steps are being taken to implement Hon'ble Supreme Court order dated 30/05/2019
a. The admission of all candidates allotted seats during previous rounds under EWS category are hereby cancelled. The category of all EWS candidates will be converted into Open Category
b. The Seats allocated under previous rounds in EWS category will now be treated under Open category.
c. The admissions of all the candidates (except those admitted under EWS Category) from the previous admission process are not disturbed.
d. These seats will be filled as per rules of NEET PG/MDS - 2019 Information Brochure(s).
e. The Institute level admission process for Private Unaided/ Minority Medical/Dental Colleges remain unchanged.
To view the Maha CET Cell notice, click here
The top court took strong note of a clause (c) as according to the May 30 order of the apex court, the admissions of the EWS category students had to be cancelled and the merit list was required to be "reshuffled" so that rankings of the general category students get changed accordingly. However, the Maha CET Cell directed otherwise.
During the recent hearing on the case before the apex court, it was submitted that in effect clause (c) of the Notice No.41 dated 30.05.2019 would virtually nullify the interim order passed by this Court.
The court was hearing a fresh intervention plea, against the fresh notice of the Maha CET Cell, filed by general category students.
In its justification, the state had said, “There is a little time now as the last date of counselling would be 31.05.2019 and therefore, it will not be possible for the Government to reshuffle the entire admissions.”
The counsel for the state further submitted that as such there was no other mala fide intention on the part of the State Government providing Clause (c).
Noticing the non-compliance of its order, the apex court bench irked and threatened the State of contempt proceedings.
"We will issue contempt proceedings against Commissioner and Competent Authority of the state CET Cell and other officers. You (state) are virtually overriding the interim order passed by this court (on May 30),"
A student, who was earlier allotted a seat in a particular stream of medical science, can now get a better course if the merit list is reshuffled, the bench stated, adding that now "you are saying that it could not be done due to paucity of time. You are the person who has created all the problems".
It said that when this court specifically directed,
The notifications extending the benefit of reservation to the extent of 10 per cent to EWS, inter alia, in PG medical courses shall not be applicable for admission for the academic year 2019-20 unless the MCI increases the number of seats (which has not taken place) and once the admission of all candidates allotted seats during the previous rounds under EWS category are cancelled and the category of all EWS candidates are converted into open category, necessary consequences of reshuffling must follow".
The top court stayed the clause 'C' of the May 30 notice of the CET Cell and said
it can be said to be in the teeth of the interim order of this court" and it "virtually tantamount" to not giving full effect to its order.
The apex court said:
"The authorities are hereby directed to complete the process of admission including reshuffling on implementation of Notice...and considering the interim order passed by this Court on May 30...
"In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, we extend the time to complete the counselling and to complete the admission process in PG medical and dental courses for the Academic Year 2019-20 as directed above up to June 4, failing which a very serious view shall be taken for not complying the interim order passed by this Court in its true spirit."
The admissions for the 2019-20 academic year were to close on Friday.
The balance between the competing claims of parties involved will be upset if the reserved category students are allowed to take admissions in the PG Medical course and at a later stage, their admissions were found to be untenable, it had said.