Allowing an appeal of the Tamil Nadu government partly, a vacation bench of the Madras High Court today directed it to complete postgraduate medical admissions for 2018-19 as per schedule, except awarding incentive marks to a category based on specialisation. A vacation bench, comprising Justices V Pathiban and P D Audikesavalu observed that ‘A3’ category doctors should not be awarded any incentive marks as they are not entitled for it. The matter relates to awarding incentive marks to in-service doctors working in rural, difficult areas for admission in postgraduate medical courses.
The court said so far as the categorisation of A3 (which covers posts, including those in trauma and neonatal Intensive Care Units) was concerned, a separate classification has been made solely on the basis of areas of specialisation. Hence, it does not meet the objective envisaged in the Medical Council of India Regulations, 2000, that covers providing incentive marks. As regards categorisation of A 1 and A 2, covering in-service doctors in remote and difficult areas, these norms do not suffer from any legal or factual infirmity as a whole, and it cannot be invalidated, the court said.
The Tamil Nadu government had constituted a six member committee headed by P Umanath, Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation, to identify difficult and remote areas for awarding incentive marks to in-service doctors for admission in PG Medical Courses. The committee, in its report, categorised the areas as A, B and C and furnished the same to the government, which later issued two government orders under the above categorisation.
Originally, this was challenged by some doctors, stating that the categorisation was not in accordance with the Supreme Court orders and not in accordance with the Medical Council of India’s Regulations. Single Judge S Vaidyanathan after quashing both the government orders directed the government to re-do the categorisation.
Justice Vaidyanathan had directed that the categorisation be based on only geographical parameters as per the MCI rules and in accordance with teh Supreme Court directions, against which the state government filed an appeal before the division bench. The vacation bench, allowing the appeal partly, said though the recommendation of the expert committee on categorisation does not strictly fall in line with the apex court directions, the entire exercise was not completely erroneous either.
The bench, while considering the litigations on admissions to medical courses suggested to the government that the expert committee may be headed by a retired high court judge. The suggestion was to avoid recurrence of litigations on categorisation of doctors for availing benefit of additional weightage as per the MCI norms.