SC permits Tamil Nadu to reserve 50% seats in super speciality medical courses


The Supreme Court on Wednesday permitted the Tamil Nadu government to provide 50 per cent reservation in super speciality courses (DM/M.Ch.) for in-service candidates in government medical colleges in academic year 2021-22.

A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai said: “We are… of the view that no case is made out for continuing the interim protection which was granted for the academic year 2020-21 vide interim order dated November 27, 2020 and thus, we reject the prayer in that regard. Needless to say, that the state of Tamil Nadu would be at liberty to continue the counselling for academic year 2021-22 by taking into consideration the reservation provided by it as per the said GO (government order).”

The apex court declined to entertain a plea by Dr N. Karthikeyan and others, seeking interim protection as issued by it for academic year 2020-2021. Citing the 1992 Indra Sawhney (Mandal Commission) case, the petitioners argued that there cannot be any reservation for admission in super speciality courses as per nine-judge bench decision.

Tamil Nadu issued a GO on November 7, 2020, granting reservation of 50 super specialty seats (DM/M.Ch.) for in-service candidates in government medical colleges in the state. The petitioners claimed that this was not permissible in law.

The bench noted the constitution bench, in the case of Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association, clearly held that it is within the competence of the state legislature to provide separate channel/source of entry or reservation for in-service candidates seeking admission to postgraduate degree or diploma medical courses.

As the petitioners argued that this judgment only deals with postgraduate or diploma courses and it cannot be made applicable to super speciality courses, the bench said: “We find it, at least prima facie, difficult to accept the said proposition made on behalf of the writ petitioners/appellants.”

The state government pointed out that due to non-availability of the candidates with degree in super specialisation, as many as 49 vacancies for the posts of Professors/ Associate Professors and 58 vacancies for the posts of Assistant Professors could not be filled up.

The Centre supported petitioners against granting any reservation for in-service candidates in super speciality courses. The top court clarified the present order was being passed only on prima facie considerations and listed the matter for further hearing after Holi vacations.

The state government counsel submitted that all the candidates selected through in-service channels for the super specialty courses at the time of joining are required to execute a bond that they will serve the government till their superannuation.

“It is, therefore, submitted that, in-service reservation is provided with an avowed object of getting services of such candidates till their superannuation,” said the state government.

It said most of the candidates, selected through open channels, leave after serving a bond period of two years or even prior to that by paying the bond money. “It is, therefore, submitted that this will lead to a very dangerous situation wherein the faculty members would not be available for super specialty seats and the number of such seats would drastically reduce,” said the state government.



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