MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Sunday stayed a fresh decision of Maharashtra government that makes domicile mandatory for post graduate medical seats in government run colleges even for those who graduated from colleges in the state. The interim order at a special urgent hearing observed that the state’s move and its timing were “arbitrary and unreasonable”.
With the final admission procedure set to begin on May 2 as informed by the state, the government said it was preparing to appeal against the stay, before the Supreme Court.
The order is significant as it comes as a relief to over 700 medical graduates who were overnight rendered ineligible for PG admissions for being non-domiciled. The additional eligibility requirement was forced on students at the fag end of preparation of first merit list in an “illegal and arbitrary move”, said medical students who moved the HC to challenge it.
The State directorate of medical education and Research (DMER) had in a Government Resolution (GR) issued on April 27 decided to allow non-domiciled students admission in a 15% management quota in private medical colleges.
The HC holiday bench of Justices S S Kemkar and A M Badar bench stayed the GR as well as a notice the state issued on April 28. The HC found the state’s decision that comes while admission process was in progress to be unsustainable, at this stage.
The bench held that the “change of eligibility criteria at the stage when the first selection list was to be published is in our considered view arbitrary and unreasonable.” Doctors who were given legitimate expectation right since January 2017 that they would be eligible to get admission were on April 27 turned ineligible and would find it impossible now to apply for post graduate seats in their home states or any other state since admission process is midway, the court observed while passing orders in a challenge raised by Dr Gagandeep Mahi and others to the change of eligibility rules.
Advocate V M Thorat and Pooja Thorat appearing for the petitioner argued that the sudden issuance of GR and notice to amend eligibility even after the entrance test was over and admission process had begun was discriminatory, unauthorised and must be stayed immediately to prevent injustice.
Dr Mahi and two others were admitted to MBBS course in Government Medical Colleges in Maharashtra under a 15% All India Quota. Another student admitted under a Defence quota and yet another MBBS graduate from DY Patil Deemed University, Kolhapur under All India Quota had also moved the HC to challenge the arbitrary April 27 GR.
Rules for admission to Post Graduate courses so far held as eligible all those who passed the final MBBS examination from a college in Maharashtra and completed a one year internship training by 31st March, 2017 from a recognized medical college.
Government lawyer L M Acharya opposing any relief to the petitioners, argued that the state’s move was justifiable. The modified rules are to ensure maximum Postgraduate Medical students from Maharashtra to achieve the government’s object of improving and providing better public health care in the state, he said seeking a week to file a reply to the petition. He said “the first selection list has already been published on April 30 and therefore at this stage no interference is called for.” The academic session begins on May 2.
But petitioning medical graduates also said that since they were eligible to claim post graduate seats in Government Medical Colleges they paid Rs 10 lakh along with interest of Rs 3 Lakh in lieu of compensation for rendering rural service in the state, but find themselves ineligible now.
Observing that rules for admission published before January 27, 2017 made even non-domiciled students eligible for getting PG, changing the rules mid-way was prima facie not sustainable, the HC said.