EWS quota in PG medical: SC threatens Maharashtra govt of contempt for virtually overriding order

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Published: May 31, 2019 9:48:28 PM

EWS quota in PG medical: The top court took strong note of a clause of the notice issued by the state government's Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell on Thursday after it had passed the earlier order.

EWS quota, PG medical, Supreme Court, Maharashtra, Maharashtra government, economically weaker sections, india newsSupreme Court of India. (Reuters)

The Supreme Court Friday threatened contempt proceedings against Maharashtra government officials for “virtually overriding” its order staying 10 per cent quota to students of economically weaker sections (EWS) in admissions to post graduate medical and dental courses in the 2019-20 academic year. A vacation bench comprising Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna also extended till June 4 the deadline for concluding the admission process asking the Maharashtra government to refresh the merit list after excluding the EWS category students. The top court took strong note of a clause of the notice issued by the state government’s Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell on Thursday after it had passed the earlier order.

The clause reads: “The admissions of all the candidates (except those admitted under EWS Category) from the previous admission process are not disturbed.” As per the May 30 order of the apex court, the admissions of the EWS category students had to be cancelled and the merit list was required to be “reshuffled” so that rankings of the general category students get changed accordingly, the bench said. “We will issue contempt proceedings against Commissioner and Competent Authority of the state CET Cell and other officers. You (state) are virtually overriding the interim order passed by this court (on May 30),” said the irked bench.

A student, who was earlier allotted a seat in a particular stream of medical science, can now get a better course if the merit list is reshuffled, it said, adding that now “you are saying that it could not be done due to paucity of time. You are the person who has created all the problems”.

It said that when this court specifically directed that the notifications “extending the benefit of reservation to the extent of 10 per cent to EWS, inter alia, in PG medical courses shall not be applicable for admission for the academic year 2019-20 unless the MCI increases the number of seats (which has not taken place) and once the admission of all candidates allotted seats during the previous rounds under EWS category are cancelled and the category of all EWS candidates are converted into open category, necessary consequences of reshuffling must follow”.

The top court stayed the clause ‘C’ of the May 30 notice of the CET Cell and said that it “can be said to be in the teeth of the interim order of this court” and it “virtually tantamount” to not giving full effect to its order. Advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar, appearing for the state, said there was little time left as the last date of counselling for admissions was ending on May 31 and therefore, it was not possible for the government to reshuffle the entire admission list.

He however submitted that there was no other “mala fide intention” on the part of the government and sought some more time for re-drawing the merit list. The apex court said: “The authorities are hereby directed to complete the process of admission including reshuffling on implementation of Notice…and considering the interim order passed by this Court on May 30…

“In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, we extend the time to complete the counselling and to complete the admission process in PG medical and dental courses for the Academic Year 2019-20 as directed above up to June 4, failing which a very serious view shall be taken for not complying the interim order passed by this Court in its true spirit.” The court was hearing a fresh intervention plea, against the fresh notice of the CET Cell, filed by Sameer R Deshmukh and other general category students through senior lawyer Sanjay Hegde and advocate Govind Jee.

Earlier, the apex court had stayed Maharashtra government’s notification granting of 10 per cent quota to students of EWS in admissions to post graduate medical and dental courses in academic year 2019-20. “We are of the view, at this stage, that though the State may act under the enabling provision contained 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 aforesaid Constitutional amendment by issuing appropriate notifications, as has been done in this case,” the bench had said.

The admissions for the 2019-20 academic year were to close on Friday. The balance between the competing claims of parties involved will be upset if the reserved category students are allowed to take admissions in the PG Medical course and at later stage their admissions were found to be untenable, it had said.

The court’s order had come on a plea of Rajat Rajendra Agrawal and two others, all students from General Category claiming that unless additional seats are created, the ten per cent EWS quota will eat into their share of seats. The students have challenged two circulars of the Maharashtra government by which 10 per cent EWS quota was enforced in PG medical and dental courses of the state.

They have sought a direction to the state not to implement 10 per cent reservation for EWS across all classes in the post-graduate medical and dental courses this academic year.

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