NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today cleared the decks for admission in PG medical courses through 50 per cent institutional reservation in Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University and extended the time to fill up the vacant seats till June 12.
The apex court set aside the May 29 order of the Allahabad High Court, saying it "overstepped" its jurisdiction and termed the verdict as as "erroneous" as both the AMU and the BHU, the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Union of India were not parties before it.
"The high court did not take into consideration the fact that the state (Uttar Pradesh) had no power to control admission to these universities.
"Therefore, we are clearly of the view that the high court overstepped its jurisdiction and the order of the high court is erroneous and is liable to be set aside," a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Deepak Gupta said.
It said that the 50 per cent institutional reservation in the AMU and the BHU, which had been reflected in their prospectus, was not challenged by anybody before the high court.
"As stated, the AMU and the BHU were not parties before the high court. The MCI and the Union of India were also not parties before the high court," it said, adding that earlier judgements of the apex court, which upheld institutional preferences in central universities, were also not taken into account by the high court.
The apex court said that in central universities 100 per cent admissions for MBBS course are based on all India examination and there is no state quota for seats in central universities like the AMU and the BHU or other central institutions like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
It is, therefore, apparent that the state can have no control over the seats in those medical colleges which are part of the central universities/institutions, it said.
"These seats have to be filled up on the basis of merit and institutional preference could be given to the extent permissible i.e. 50 per cent, as has been held by a catena of decisions including the Constitution Bench judgment of this court in the case of Saurabh Chaudri," it said.
The apex court also set aside the direction of the high court which denied the benefit of service rendered in remote/ difficult areas to those doctors, who have cleared MBBS examination from a college outside Uttar Pradesh.
It said that Rule 9(iv) of THE MCI regulations clearly provides that an incentive at the rate of 10 per cent of the marks for each year can be given to those in service candidates, who have served in remote or difficult areas subject to the condition that the highest incentive will be of 30 per cent marks.
The bench said that the power to notify the remote and difficult areas is vested with the state government which has been upheld by the apex court as Rule 9 (iv) is a complete code in itself.
In fact, Rule 9 (iv) itself only provides for weightage being given for each year of service rendered in remote and difficult areas, it said.
The purpose behind this rule is that those doctors who willingly served in remote and difficult areas should be given some preference while considering them for admission to postgraduate courses, the court said.
"The intention is to benefit those who left the comforts of towns and cities and are willing to work in difficult conditions in remote and difficult areas," it said.
The bench said that the high court erred in deciding that those in-service doctors, who had cleared their MBBS examination from within the state of UP, were only entitled to the benefit of Regulation 9(iv) of the 2000 Regulations.
Not only the did the high court transgress its jurisdiction and went beyond the scope of the writ petition, it also set at naught the entire selection process only two days before the last date of admissions making it virtually impossible to comply with the direction of the high court within the short period of two days, it said while setting aside the May 29 HC order.
The apex court also set aside all consequential action taken by Uttar Pradesh or any authority or institute in pursuance of the order and rejected the prayer of state government for extending the time limit for admission, saying there is no need to re-draw the merit list.
While considering the prayer of AMU and the state government to extend the time to fill up the vacant seats on account of confusion due to the high court order, the bench said due to peculiar facts and circumstances, fresh counselling will have to be taken up.
"It is clarified that those who were counselled and granted admission prior to the impugned judgement of the high court shall be permitted to continue in their respective courses," it said.
The time for filling up the vacant seats, if any, in AMU, BHU and Government run medical colleges/institutions in the state of UP is extended up to June 12, 2017, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, it said.