SC rejects EWS quota in Maharashtra medical courses

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) In a setback for the Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the state’s decision to introduce the 10 per cent quota for academic year 2019-20 in the postgraduate medical courses.

The apex court said the state could not apply it after the admission process had begun in November 2018. At least two-dozen candidates from the economically weaker section (EWS) would be affected with the top court’s decision.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said, “We deem it proper to declare that the notification of the State of Maharashtra, dated March 7, insofar as the admission to postgraduate medical courses is concerned, will have no application to the ongoing process of selection, so as to enable the representatives of the economically weaker sections to avail of the benefit of reservation for admission to postgraduate medical courses.”

The court said the modalities of selection couldn’t be changed after initiation of the admission process and the Maharashtra government couldn’t change the rule of the game while the game was on.

The court also observed while passing the order it had kept in mind balance and claim of equity, which might come at a later stage.

“While making the above declaration, we have kept in mind the need to balance the competing claims which balance could be upset by claim of equity, if the reserved category candidates are allowed to undergo the medical course(s) and in the event their admission is found to be untenable at a later stage of the present proceedings”, observed the court.

The court said the Medical Council of India (MCI) could have created more seats rather than giving away from presently available seats. As such, the court said the EWS was not applicable to the existing seats in medical courses in the state.

The court also observed at this stage, although the state may act under the enabling provision contained in Article 16(6) of the Constitution, as introduced by the 103rd constitutional amendment, “unless additional seats are sanctioned by the MCI, the existing seats can’t be subjected to the provisions of the aforesaid constitutional amendment by issuing appropriate notifications, as has been done in this case”.

The counsel for the state cited the ordinance passed by the government, but the court didn’t entertain that.

“We have, therefore, deemed it appropriate to pass the above interim directions/to make the aforesaid interim declaration pending final decision in the writ petitions before us. Needless to say, it is always open for the Medical Council of India to sanction additional seats, if deemed fit” said the court disposing the application.

–IANS

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