Abrupt introduction of the rule would jeopardise the careers of students, the court observed, hearing petitions filed by Radhika Jayaswal and Katha Vaidya who cleared the entrance test for medical course but could not produce a domicile certificate as they have not stayed in the state for 15 years as required.
The court had on June 24 asked the government to consider their cases on merit for admission, without insisting on domicile certificate.
The rule has been introduced by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research. The court noted that until last year this rule did not exist.
"This action....is nothing but use of unreasonable and arbitrary power," said the bench headed by Justice Anoop Mohota.
"They have brought in such a rule abruptly without giving proper communication and notice to the students," the HC said.
The petitioners had taken MH-CET examination last year too and though selected for BDS and MBBS courses in private colleges, they opted out and took the examination this year again.
"Now they are faced with a situation where they are permanently denied admission in medical courses in the state of Maharashtra for want of domicile certificate, which was never the requirement till last year," the court said.