PG med admissions: HC reprieve for in-service candidates
In a relief for candidates seeking admission to post-graduate (PG) medical courses through the in-service quota, the Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday clarified that there was no cap on the number of years of completed service in tribal, difficult or rural areas for which they could get additional marks for admission.
Justice SC Gupte was hearing a petition filed by Dr Abinav Bhute, challenging a government resolution (GR) issued by the Maharashtra medical education department on March 19 last year, granting only 4℅ additional weightage to in-service candidates who rendered service in rural areas, instead of the 10℅ weightage given by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
In the petition, advocate Madhav Thorat pointed out that Maharashtra government has reserved 25℅ of the PG diploma and 25℅ of PG degree seats for in-service candidates. To encourage in-service candidates to work in rural, tribal, or difficult areas, the MCI has provided additional 10% marks for each year of service, subject to a maximum of 30% additional marks obtained by them in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
According to Thorat, Dr Bhute has served in rural areas for seven years and last year sought 30℅ additional weightage, but the department refused to give him the maximum marks, prompting him to move HC. On his petition, the court on March 12, 2019, directed the department to extend additional weightage as contemplated by the MCI notification to in-service candidates who have served in rural areas. Despite the direction, the department refused to give the 30% weightage to Dr Bhute, giving rise to a second round of the litigation.
On Tuesday, assistant government pleader Rina Salunke pointed out that the department had on March 19, 2019, issued a GR varying the weightage of marks to be given. It had decided to provide 10% weightage for rendering service in tribal areas, 7% weightage for rendering service in difficult areas, and 4% for rendering service in rural areas. She also pointed out that the scheme contemplates reckoning only three years of service for giving these additional marks to in-service candidates.
Justice Gupte, however, refused to accept the last contention. The judge said that none of the GRs on the topic reckons only three years of service. “For each year of completed service, the in-service candidates are entitled to marks in accordance with the altered scheme of marks,” said the judge, adding, “It is accordingly clarified that the entire service, whatever be the length of such service, of in-service candidates is to be reckoned for allotting weightage of marks for postgraduate admissions.”