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After Maratha, Supreme Court stays EWS quota for PG med admissions

SC bench says state can’t apply reservation unless number of seats is increased

mumbai Updated: May 31, 2019 00:39 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maratha quota,EWS
Medical students belonging to Maratha community protest at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on May 11. (HT FILE)

In an interim judgment, the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday decided the 10% reservation for economically weaker section (EWS) won’t apply to post-graduate (PG) medical and dental admissions in the state this year.

The verdict comes weeks after the Bombay high court (HC) passed a similar verdict for 16% reservation for Marathas under the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC), which was later upheld by the SC. However, the state later issued an ordinance to retain the quota.

A vacation bench of chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Aniruddha Bose ruled that unless the number of seats available in medical and dental colleges is increased, the state can’t apply the EWS quota. “Although the state may act under the provision in Article 16(6) of the Constitution, as introduced by the 103rd constitutional amendment, unless additional seats are sanctioned by the Medical Council of India, the existing seats cannot be subjected to the provisions of the amendment,” read the verdict.

The 103rd amendment provides for states to reserve seats for EWS students.

State advocate Nishant Katneshwarkar argued the seats corresponding to the 10% EWS quota have been filled and a modification at this stage would have an adverse effect. “Ten per cent EWS quota can’t be granted to the ongoing admission process. You can’t change the rules when the game is on,” the bench said.

The court also refused to extend the May 31 deadline for the admission process.

Following the verdict, the state common entrance test (CET) cell cancelled the admissions of around 143 open and EWS aspirants in PG medical and dental colleges across the state, who were admitted on EWS seats. The cell will now fill these seats, as part of open category. Only those students who are yet to be allotted a college and EWS aspirants whose admissions were cancelled are in contention for these seats. “We have only a day left for the admission process. We had requested the court to extend the process by eight days, but they refused,” said Anand Rayate, commissioner, CET Cell.

At the time of going to press, the cell issued the allotment list for these seats. Students can claim them on Friday.

The counsels for five petitioners, general category students from the city, argued the EWS quota can’t be applied to PG medical and dental courses, as their admission process had begun before the state introduced the reservation. “The state issued a government resolution (GR) on EWS reservation on February 12. The application process for entrance tests was over in November,” said Dr Subodh Sirur, an advisor to the petitioners. Senior counsel Gourab Banerji and Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the petitioner, cited the SC order by which it upheld the HC verdict laying down reservation for SEBC .

Sirur also pointed out that MCI had in April directed government-run medical and dental colleges in the state to send proposals for additional seats to implement the EWS reservation. “The state decided to apply EWS quota before the new seats were added,” he said. Meanwhile, a group of EWS aspirants, on Thursday, requested the government to retain their admissions.

Inputs from Bhadra Sinha

First Published: May 31, 2019 00:39 IST