The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has dismissed a batch of petitions challenging a Government Order (G.O.) on PG (MD, MS and MDS) seats in Tamil Nadu Government medical colleges and self-financing colleges.
The petitioners sought a direction to quash the G.O. as arbitrary and illegal and a direction to authorities to treat ‘in-service’ and ‘non-service’ candidates on a par in the admissions to Postgraduate degree seats in Government medical colleges.
Justice G. R. Swaminathan dismissed the batch of petitions. The court noted that the petitioners had challenged the G.O. issued in 2020 for two reasons. The government had directed that 50 % of the State quota seats in PG (MD, MS and MDS) degree courses in Tamil Nadu Government Medical colleges and the government quota seats in self-financing medical colleges affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University be reserved for in-service doctors serving in Government health institutions.
The government also directed that the remaining 50% which is the open category will be open to both in-service and non-service candidates and the seats will be filled up based on the marks already defined or such criteria to be defined by the authorities from time to time as per the decision of the Committee headed by retired High Court judge Justice A. Selvam.
The judge took note of the fact that the validity of the G.O. was considered by a Division Bench and the court had declined to interfere.
The judge said, “Following a decision of the Supreme Court, it was held that the State does have power to provide for a separate quota for in-service doctors, as a separate source of entry in medical education, while filling up Postgraduate seats in medical education, from within the State quota”
The judge observed that the Division Bench clearly stated that the primary reason for the non-interference was that the academic year 2021-2022 was the first year of implementation of the policy. It is relevant to note that the judgment of the Division Bench was pronounced on January 27, 2022. Quite a few months before the said date, the admissions had already been finalised.
The case of the petitioners is that in response to an RTI Act query, it was informed that for the Postgraduate degree/Diploma courses in Government Medical colleges, 294 non-service doctors and 859 in-service doctors were allotted seats during the Tamil Nadu counselling in the 2021-2022 session.
The petitioners contrasted the figures with the position that was obtained during the preceding three years, 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. They contended that the implementation of the G.O. has an arbitrary, unreasonable and disproportionate effect.
“I decline to go into this contention for the simple reason that the Division Bench clearly stated that the primary reason for non-interference was that the academic year 2021-2022 was the first year of implementation of the policy”, the judge said.
“The Division Bench wanted to see as to how the implementation would pan out in future. Therefore, the data collected in respect of the first year of the implementation of the policy cannot be the basis for maintaining this petition. The liberty granted by the Division Bench can be invoked only if the petitioners can show a pattern of disproportionate impact”, the judge said.
The petitioners may have to see how the policy works itself out during the academic year 2022-2023 before they can avail the liberty. Based exclusively on the result of this academic year 2021-2022, the petitioners cannot mount a challenge, the judge said and dismissed the batch of petitions.