PG medical admission row: Madras HC strikes down GOs identifying remote and difficult areas

In an order that could have far reaching consequences in the PG medical admissions in the State, the Madras High Court on Wednesday struck down the Government Order issued on March 9 classifying remote and difficult areas under three categories and the subsequent amendment on March 23 granting incentive marks as illegal.
File photo of Madras High Court
File photo of Madras High Court

Chennai

Allowing the writ petitions filed by Dr P Pravin and three others working as Assistant Surgeons in the PHC at Maduramangalam in Kancheepuram District, Justice S Vaidyanathan, said, “Under the guise of rectifying defects with regard to identification of remote, difficult and rural areas and also with regard to the identification of PHCs, there is no proper geographical identification and such identification certainly reduced the chances of other candidates who may not be entitled to such weightage.” 
“Except urban, other areas have been categorised as A, B and C thereby adding percentage of marks to all the in-service candidates to enable them have advantage over meritorious candidates. The exercise made by the committee based on which the GO in question is issued, is liable to be interfered with and hence both GOs are declared illegal,” Justice Vaidyanathan added. 
The petitioners, who are in- service candidates and have applied for PG admission for 201819 had challenged both the GOs on the basis that remote and difficult areas as per the GOs are identified based on vacancy of doctors and health indicators in each district. The districts having low density of doctors, high vacancy and poor health indicators have been declared as backward districts in its entirety and declared as Category A and made eligible for 100% intensive marks. 
Stating that the above cannot be a criterion as per the Supreme Court order, the petitioners sought to quash the GOs and direct the State to evolve guidelines for such demarcation as spelt out by National Health System Resources Centre (NHSRC) based on SC’s direction. 
Plea seeking 50% seats for in-service docs dismissed
The Madras High Court on Wednesday struck down the GO classifying remote and difficult areas under three categories for PG medical admissions and the amendment granting incentive marks as illegal.
Justice S Vaidyanathan also dismissed a plea seeking reservation of 50 per cent of seats to in-service candidates in PG diploma courses under the all India quota. A day after passing interim orders directing the Director General of Health Services, New Delhi and state selection committee not to allot seats to any student both under the all India quota and state quota in PG Medical Admissions, the judge said, “A Reading of regulation 9(IV) and 9(VIII) of PG Medical Education regulation 2000 makes it clear that percentage can’t be taken into account while preparing all India merit list.”
Holding that the regulation cannot be applied to the all India quota counseling and the marks obtained under the NEET alone can be considered, the judge said, “It is made clear that the said regulation applies only to in-service candidates in the respective state government.” 
C Sudhan and six others, who had secured more than 50 per cent marks in NEET PG 2018, had contended that the places they serve are notified as remote/difficult areas by the state and hence they were entitled for additional weightage marks.

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