TAMIL NADU MEDICAL OFFICERS ASSOCIATION Vs. UNION OF INDIA
LAWS(SC)-2020-8-41
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on August 31,2020

Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association Appellant
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

STATE OF T.N. VS. T. DHILIPKUMAR [REFERRED TO]
TAMIL NADU MEDICAL OFFICERS ASSOCIATION VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
NAZIR AHMED VS. KING EMPEROR [REFERRED TO]
T.N. MEDICAL OFFICERS ASSOCIATION VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
TIKA RAMJI OTHERS VS. STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH [REFERRED TO]
GUJARAT UNIVERSITY STATE OF GUJARAT PRINCIPAL ST XAVIERS COLLEGE RANCHI COUNCIL FOR THE INDIAN SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION VS. KRISHNA RAUGANATH MUDNOLKAR:KRISHNA RAUGANATH MUDNOLKAR:KRISHNA RAUGANATH MUDNOLKAR:KRISHNA RAUGANATH MUDNOLKAR [REFERRED TO]
R CHITRALEKHA VENKATESUBBA REDDY VS. STATE OF MYSORE [REFERRED TO]
KUMARI CHITRA GHOSH VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
D N CHANCHALA USHA P BHASKAR RAMASUBRAMANYAM SETTY V V SOUDAMINI R JAYASHREE VS. STATE OF MYSORE [REFERRED TO]
ASSISTANT COLLECTOR OF CENTRAL EXCISE CALCUTTA DIVISION VS. NATIONAL TOBACCO CO OF INDIA LIMITED [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH VS. PRADIP TANDON:STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH:STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF KARNATAKA VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF KERALA M SALEENA VS. KUMARI T P ROSHANA:STATE OF KERALA [REFERRED TO]
MUNICIPAL COUNCIL RATLAM VS. VARDICHAN [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH VS. KUMARI NIVEDITA JAIN [REFERRED TO]
BANDHUA MUKTI MORCHA VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
PRADEEP JAIN MISS REITA NIRANKARI MEENAKSHI ALKA AGGARWAL SHALINI VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
DINESH KUMAR II VS. MOTILAL NEHRU MEDICAL COLLEGE ALLAHABAD [REFERRED TO]
VINCENT PANIKURLANGARA VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
C E S C LIMITED VS. SUBHASH CHANDRABOSE [REFERRED TO]
SNEHELATA PATNAIK VS. STATE OF ORISSA [REFERRED TO]
S R BOMMAI VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
AJAY KUMAR SINGH VS. STATE OF BIHAR [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF TAMIL NADU VS. ADHIYAMAN EDUCATIONAL AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE [REFERRED TO]
GUJARAT UNIVERSITY VS. RAJIVGOPINATHBHATT [REFERRED TO]
PASCHIM BANGA KHET MAZDOOR SAMITY VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF PUNJAB VS. MOHINDER SINGH CHAWLA [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF PUNJAB VS. RAM LUBHAYA BAGGA [REFERRED TO]
MEDICAL COUNCIL OF INDIA VS. STATE OF KARNATAKA [REFERRED TO]
MARY ANGEL VS. STATE OF TAMIL NADU [REFERRED TO]
PREETI SRIVASTAVA VS. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH [REFERRED TO]
NARAYAN SHARMA VS. PANKAJ KR LEHKAR [REFERRED TO]
K DURAISAMY VS. STATE OF TAMIL NADU [REFERRED TO]
P G MEDICAL SANGHARS COMMITTEE VS. BAJRANG SONI [REFERRED TO]
A I I M S STUDENTS UNION VS. A I I M S [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF PUNJAB VS. DAYANATH MEDICAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH VS. GOPAL D TIRTHANI [REFERRED TO]
SAURABH CHAUDRI VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
BHARATI VIDYAPEETH DEEMED UNIVERSITY VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [REFERRED TO]
U P CO OPERATIVE CANE UNIONS FEDRATIONS VS. WEST U P SUGAR MILLS ASSOCIATION 7 ORS [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA VS. SANT DNYANESHWAR SHIKSHAN SHASTRA MAHAVIDYALAYA [REFERRED TO]
SUDHIR N. VS. STATE OF KERALA [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF U.P. & ORS. VS. DR. DINESH SINGH CHAUHAN [REFERRED TO]
DEVIKA BISWAS VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAL SUPER SPECIALITY ASPIRANTS AND RESIDENTS VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
YATINKUMAR JASUBHAI PATEL VS. STATE OF GUJARAT [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

DR. N. KARTHIKEYAN VS. STATE OF TAMIL NADU [LAWS(SC)-2022-3-51] [REFERRED TO]
JIBIN VS. STATE OF KERALA [LAWS(KER)-2022-1-156] [REFERRED TO]
TANIA MUKHERJEE VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL [LAWS(CAL)-2022-4-96] [REFERRED TO]
PARKAVIYAN R. VS. STATE OF TAMIL NADU [LAWS(MAD)-2022-1-99] [REFERRED TO]
MOHITA PANDEY VS. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH [LAWS(MPH)-2022-4-50] [REFERRED TO]
DURGA PANDEY VS. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH [LAWS(MPH)-2022-2-40] [REFERRED TO]
DR. VIKAS R S VS. STATE OF KERALA [LAWS(KER)-2022-5-32] [REFERRED TO]
VIJENDRA DHANWARE VS. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH [LAWS(MPH)-2022-1-49] [REFERRED TO]
VIKAS R. S. VS. STATE OF KERALA [LAWS(KER)-2022-5-95] [REFERRED TO]
VIKAS R. S. VS. STATE OF KERALA [LAWS(KER)-2022-2-70] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

M.R.SHAH, J. - (1.)Leave and permission granted in the respective special leave petitions.
(2.)After considering the judgment rendered by a three Judge Bench of this Court in the case of State of U.P. vs. Dinesh Singh Chauhan, (2016) 9 SCC 749 another three Judge Bench, pursuant to order dated 13.4.2018 in the case of T.N. Medical Officers Association vs. Union of India, (2018) 17 SCC 478 has referred the present batch of cases to a larger Bench.
2.1 In the case of Dinesh Singh Chauhan (supra), a three Judge Bench construed the provisions of Regulations 9(IV) and 9 (VII) of the MCI Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000, as amended on 15.2.2012 (hereinafter referred to as the "MCI Regulations 2000"). In the case of Dinesh Singh Chauhan (supra), while considering the aforesaid Regulations, this Court held that the aforesaid Regulations do not provide for any reservation for in-service government doctors in PG degree courses, and therefore, the State Government order providing the reservation for PG degree courses for in-service government doctors is held to be illegal.

2.2 The present batch of cases came up for hearing before another Bench of three Judges. The Bench was of the opinion that the present batch of cases require consideration by a larger Bench and that is how the present batch of cases are referred to a larger Bench. On the basis of the submissions made, the following reasons were mentioned:

"(i) The decision in Dinesh Singh Chauhan has not considered the entries in the legislative lists of the Seventh Schedule, more particularly Entry 66 of the Union List and Entry 25 of the Concurrent List;

(ii) The main contention of the petitioners is that while coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education falls within the exclusive domain of the Union (Entry 66 List I), medical education is a subject in the Concurrent List (Entry 25 List III). Though, Entry 25 of List III is subject to Entry 66 of List I, the State is not denuded of its power to legislate on the manner and method of making admissions to postgraduate medical courses;

(iii) The contentions which have been raised in the present batch of petitions were not addressed before this Court in Dinesh Singh Chauhan;

(iv) The judgment in Dinesh Singh Chauhan does not consider three decisions of the Constitution Bench in R. Chitralekha vs. State of Mysore (1964) 6 SCR 368 :AIR 1964 SC 1823, Chitra Ghosh vs. Union of India (1969) 2 SCC 228 and Modern Dental College and Research Centre vs. State of M.P. (2016) 8 SCC 353; and

(v) There are decisions rendered by Benches of an equal strength as in Dinesh Singh Chauhan."

2.3 Now so far as Civil Appeals arising out of the Special Leave Petitions(C) Nos.26448-26449 of 2019 are concerned, they arise out of the impugned judgment and order dated 01/10/2019 in MAT Nos. 1245 and 1267 of 2019 passed by the High Court at Calcutta, by which the Division Bench of the High Court has dismissed the batch of appeals confirming the order passed by the learned Single Judge holding that the State has no authority to reserve 40% seats for the in-service doctors and 60% seats for open category doctors.

2.4 In Writ Petition (Civil) No. 196 of 2018 filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, the petitioners - Tamil Nadu Medical officers' Association and others, for and on behalf of the in-service doctors in the State of Tamil Nadu have prayed for the following reliefs:

a) declare by issuance of a writ of mandamus or any other suitable writ/order/direction that Regulation 9 of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 (more particularly, Regulation 9(IV) and 9(VII), does not take away the power of the States under Entry 25, List III to provide for a separate source of entry for in-service candidates seeking admission to Degree courses;

b) Alternatively, if Regulation 9 of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 is understood to now allow for States to provide for a separate source of entry for in-service candidates seeking admission to Degree courses, declare, by issuance of a writ of mandamus or any other suitable writ/order/direction, Regulation 9 (more particularly, Regulation 9(IV) and 9 (VII) as being arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of Article 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and also ultra vires the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

Somewhat similar prayers are also sought for on behalf of the in-service doctors in the State of Kerala (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 252/2018); in-service doctors working in the State of Maharashtra (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 295/2018); and for and on behalf of the in-service doctors working in the State of Haryana (Writ Petition (Civil) No. 293 of 2018).

2.5 IA Nos.61442, 61443 and 61445 of 2020 have been preferred by the GMS Class II Medical Officers Association being aggrieved by the Public Notice dated 28.02.2019 as amended by the Corrigendum dated 10.03.2019, wherein, Medical Council of India has permitted the conversion of Diploma seats into Degree seats in the State of Gujarat. The said application is filed for and on behalf of in-service Medical Officers working in the State of Gujarat.

2.6 IA No.24759 of 2020 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 258 of 2018 has been preferred by Kerala Government Insurance Medical Association and others supporting the reservation for in-service Medical Officers/Candidates in the Post-graduate Degree Courses.

(3.)Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respective petitioners/parties, more particularly, Tamil Nadu Medical Association, State of Tamil Nadu, State of West Bengal and others in support of the reservation for in-service Medical Officers/ Candidates/Doctors in Post-graduate Degree Courses have made the following submissions:
3.1. The moot question is whether the State Government is competent to provide for a reservation for candidates who are already serving the Government. Such reservation is made for Post-graduate seats in the different medical colleges in the State. The competence of the State Government is traceable to Article 245 r/w Entry 25 List III of the 7th schedule to the Constitution. It cannot be said that there has to be a legislature made law to provide for such reservation. The Government can in exercise of its power as an Executive under Article 154 provide for such reservation and it has been so provided as well.

Once competence is found in favour of Government then only question is one of a possible conflict with a Central Law and the resolution of any question of repugnancy. It is submitted that said question really does not arise in the present case;

3.2. The competence of the State Government to bring about a law dealing with admissions of in-service candidates is upheld by the Constitutional Bench of this Court in the case of Modern Dental College and Research Centre and Others vs. State of Madhya Pradesh and Others, (2016) 7 SCC 353. The argument raised on behalf of the Centre that Entry 25 of List III itself would be subject to Entry 66 of List I has also been considered by this Court;

3.3. There is no question of any conflict of Entry 25 of List III and Entry 66 of List I. The subject of admission to courses is referable to Entry 25 of list III and not Entry 66 of List I. It is submitted that conflict, if any, can only be between a State Law and a Central Law both sourced to Entry 25 of List III. That no such conflict is present in the instant case;

3.4. There is no plenary law by the Centre provided for any reservation for in-service candidates. In other words, there is no Central Law governing the said aspect, therefore, it would be competent for the State Government to provide for a reservation for in-service candidates. In the absence of a Central Law, it is obviously open to the State Government to provide for a legal instrument, whether by way of a statute or by an executing order providing a reservation for in-service candidates;

3.5. The MCI Regulations, 2000, which are made under the Medical Council Act provide for a reservation in Post-graduate Diploma Courses for in-service candidates serving with the respective State Governments. There is no bar to such reservation in Post-graduate Degree Courses. The bar, if any, has to be express and cannot be implied. Clause 9(IV) of the MCI Regulations, 2000 can be construed as provided for community reservations and also a reservation for in-service candidates. Even otherwise, it does not enable explicitly the State Government to provide for a weightage in marks, amongst in-service candidates. Thus, the legislative instrument which could be sourced to the MCI, which in turn is a body established by the Central Government under the Medical Council Act itself recognizes an empowerment of the State Government, inter alia, to lay down the modalities to regulate or provide for a reservation for in-service candidates in Post-graduate seats. If that be so, then the actual prescription of a reservation for in-service candidates, in relation to Post-graduate Degree seats obviously has not come into conflict with the MCI Regulations, 2000 so as to attract Article 254 of the Constitution;

3.6. The MCI Regulations, 2000, not expressly providing for a reservation in Post-graduate Degree seats, specifically empowering the State Government to do so, but only touches upon the reservation in Diploma seats, it does not follow that the State Government is incompetent to provide for reservation for in-service candidates in Degree seats as well. The competence of the State Government to provide for reservation for in-service candidates is not sourced to the MCI Regulations, 2000, but it is sourced to Entry 25 of List III. Thus, the absence of any mention of reservation for candidates in Post-graduate Degree seats in the Regulations, 2000 cannot support a submission by the MCI that consequently the State Government would be incompetent to provide for any reservation for in-service candidates in Degree seats;

3.7. The MCI Regulations, 2000 would become relevant only when it provides for reservation in Post-graduate Degree seats and the State Government brings about a policy of reservation in Post-graduate Decree seats at variance from the protocol laid down in the MCI Regulations. The MCI Regulations, 2000 are silent in regard to the reservation in Post-graduate Degree seats and therefore, possible repugnancy under Article 254 of the Constitution of India really cannot arise between an instrument by the State Government and an instrument by the Central Government which does not cover the subject or touch upon the subject provided for by the State Government;

3.8. Assuming without admitting that though MCI Regulations do provide for a conversion of Diploma seats into Degree seats, by the State Government with the approval of the MCI, the MCI Regulations, 2000 do not specifically mention the consequences of such conversion. When law provides for a particular event to take place then all reasonable consequences that emanates therefrom should also be inferred, should be applied to the present situation as well;

3.9. Even MCI Regulations, 2000 themselves provide for reservation for in-service candidates in Diploma and also provides for service condition to be fulfilled thereunder. The conversion of Diploma seats into Degree seats (now after 2018) would obviously result in the same permissible reservation for in-service candidates to be provided for Degree seats as well. All that would be required is the imposition of the same conditions as are provided in the Diploma seats;

3.10. The decision of this Court in the case of Dinesh Singh Chauhan (Supra) also requires re-look in view of the subsequent development viz. Notification dated 12.07.2018 by which, MCI has permitted the Medical College/Medical Institution to "seek equal number of Post-graduate Degree seats by surrendering recognized diploma seats in corresponding course". It is submitted that pursuant to the said Notification the medical colleges/institutions are/were given the option of converting the available post graduate diploma seats into Post-graduate Degree seats in a 1:1 ratio. It is submitted that pursuant to the said notification most of the medical colleges/medical institutions in the respective States have surrendered the Post-graduate Diploma seats and have converted the same to Post-graduate Degree seats. It is submitted that resultant effect is that now there shall not be any Post-graduate Diploma seats available and therefore, in-service candidates are left in a situation where even the limited benefit conferred on them in form of 50% reservations in Post-graduate Diploma Course can no longer be availed. As a result, in-service candidates have been left in a complete lurch since they would neither be able to qualify for Post-graduate Degree course in adequate numbers nor be in a position to avail the Post-graduate Diploma seats previously available in the Government Colleges. In view of the above development, the reasoning in the case of Dinesh Singh Chauhan (supra) as to the difference in the Regulations between Post-graduate Diploma and Degree courses no longer survives;

3.11. Right of the State Government to set apart a definite percentage of educational seats at Post-graduate level consisting of Degree and Diploma courses exclusively for a class of persons as a separate source of entry has been repeatedly upheld by this Court with the condition that source is properly classified -whether on territorial, geographical or other reasonable basis and has a rational nexus with the object of imparting a particular education and effective selection for the purpose. Reliance is placed upon the decision of this Court in the cases of (1) Kumari Chitra Ghosh and Anr. vs. Union of India and Ors., (1969) 2 SCC 228; (2) D.N. Chanchala vs. The State of Mysore and Ors., (1971) 2 SCC 293; (3) K Duraisamy and Anr vs. State of Tamil Nadu and Ors., (2001) 2 SCC 538; (4) AIIMS Students Union vs. AIIMS, (2002) 1 SCC 428; and (5) State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors vs. Gopal D Tirthani and Ors. (2003) 7 SCC 83;

3.12. It has been consistently held by this Court that there is a legitimate and rational basis in providing a separate channel/source of entry for in-service candidates in order to encourage them to offer their services and expertise to the State. It is submitted that this Court has acknowledged that this has a sufficient nexus with the larger goal of equalization of educational opportunities and to sufficiently prefer the doctors serving in the various hospitals run and maintained out of public funds, in the absence of which there would be serious dearth of qualified Postgraduate doctors to meet the requirements of the common public;

3.13. Unlike reservation envisaged for Scheduled Caste/ Schedule Tribes, this is a distinct and vitally important public purpose in itself absolutely necessitated in the best of public interest. In the case of Dinesh Singh Chauhan (supra) this Court has held that no fault can be found with the method of providing a separate channel of entry for in-service candidates for the reason that the facilities for keeping up with the latest medical literature might not be available to such in-service candidates and the nature of the work makes it difficult for them to acquire knowledge about very recent medical research, which the candidates who has come after freshly passing their graduation examination might have;

3.14. In the case of Modern Dental College and Research Centre (supra), the Constitution Bench of this Court has affirmed that even though Entry 25 List III is subject to Entry 66 List I, the power of States to enact laws concerning admissions would not stand extinguished so long as such laws did not have the effect of wiping out the law enacted by the Union under Entry 66 List I;

3.15.When the States create a separate source of entry for in-service candidates, the standards of medical education are not impinged inasmuch as;

(a). only eligible in-service candidates can qualify i.e. those have obtained minimum eligibility marks;

(b). amongst eligible in-service candidates admission is made based on inter-se-merit;

(c). The preferential weightage would merely alter the order in which in -service candidates would rant in the merit list prepared for in-service candidates. Thus, it would not be a case of 'double reservation';

3.16.As held by this Court in the case of Yatinkumar Jasubhai Patel and Ors vs. State of Gujarat and Ors., (2019) 10 SCC 1 which was in the context of "institutional preference" for Post-graduate Medical Admission, only obligation by virtue of introduction of NEET is that the State cannot hold any separate test for admissions to Post-graduate courses. As observed, even while giving the admission in the State quota/institutional reservation quota, the merit determined on the basis of NEET will still have to be considered. It is submitted that therefore, provision of a separate source of entry for in-service candidates shall not dilute the standards of higher education in any manner since the candidates in question would still have to obtain the minimum merit prescribed under NEET;

3.17. The reservation referred in the opening part of Regulation 9 (IV) is only with respect to reservation as per the constitutional scheme i.e. SC, ST and OBCs and not for in-service candidates or Medical Officers in-service. This is also acknowledged by this Court in the case of Dinesh Singh Chauhan (supra) in para 25.4. It is submitted that therefore, there is no merit in the statement of defence by the respondent that in-service candidates for Postgraduate Degree Course are already governed by the reservation provided for in Regulation 9 (IV);

3.18. It is submitted that so far as State of Tamil Nadu is concerned, the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in his letter dated 25.4.2017 to the Hon'ble Prime Minister, has highlighted that providing only 30% weightage to in-service candidates seeking admission to Post-graduate Degree Course is not enough since if this procedure is followed, out of the 557 Post-graduate government seats available under the State quota in Tamil Nadu, only 20 seats would go to in-service quota candidates. It is submitted that vide letter dated 6.2.2019, the State of Tamil Nadu wrote to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and highlighted the contribution of the policy to provide 50% reservation for in-service candidates in Post-graduate degree courses in attracting meritorious Doctors to Government service and also enabling the State Government to provide uninterrupted health care in rural, difficult and remote areas of the State. It is submitted that it was further highlighted that this reservation was critical for the maintenance of quality health care in the government medical facilities;

3.19. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State of Tamil Nadu has highlighted the benefits to be achieved by providing 50% reservation for in-service candidates in Post-graduate Degree/ Diploma Courses. It is submitted that continuance of given incentive marks and reserving 50% seats for in-service candidates who performed duty in remote, rural area, hilly terrain etc. in Post-graduate courses will sustain the achievement made by the State Government in the health sector and provide valuable medical care to the poor and vulnerable society. It is submitted that therefore, it is in the larger public interest of the State that there is a provision for 50% reservation in Post-graduate Degree/Diploma Courses/seats for in-service candidates;

3.20. So far as the State of West Bengal is concerned, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State of West Bengal as well as Government Doctors serving in the Government Hospitals in the State of West Bengal in support of the reservation of 40% of the state quota Post-graduate Medical seats for in-service Doctors have made in addition to the following submissions:

3.20.1. That the State of West Bengal has enacted the West Bengal Health Services Act, 1990 for controlling the services of the in-service doctors. Under Section 21 of the said Act, the State has the Rule making power and in exercise of that power the State has enacted the West Bengal Health Service and the West Bengal Medical Education Service and the West Bengal Health and Public Administrative Service (Placement on Trainee Reserve) Rules, 2015. As per the note of Rule 3 of the said Rules, the State is empowered to make reservation in the seats of the Medical Courses of the State Universities for its officers under West Bengal Health Service and the West Bengal Medical Education Service and the West Bengal Health and Public Administrative Service. It is submitted that such note was also there in the Rules of 2008, which came to be repealed in view of enactment of Rules 2015. That the Government vide order dated 18.4.2013 provides for the reservation of 40% of the State quota Postgraduate Medical seats for the in-service doctors in exercise of such power;

3.20.2. That the action of the State to provide in-service quota is in the discharge of its positive constitutional obligations to promote and provide better health care facilities for its citizens by upgrading the qualifications of the existing in-service doctors so that the citizens may get more specialized health care facility. Such action is in discharge of its constitutional obligations as provided in Article 47 of the Constitution of India which is the corresponding fundamental right of the citizens protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India;

3.20.3. The State can fix a separate source of admission as the in-service doctors are distinct class. The classification has sufficient nexus with the laudable object of meeting the requirement of qualified Post-graduate doctors for the public health service. Reliance is placed upon decision of this Court in the case of Sudhir N vs. State of Kerala and Ors., (2015) 6 SCC 685 (paras 22 to 24);

3.20.4. By way of providing separate source of entry to the in-service doctors, the State has not impinged upon the minimum standards prescribed by the Medical Council of India as in-service candidates are selected on the basis of their merit assessed on the basis of their marks obtained in the NEET examination;

3.20.5. The action of providing separate quota for the in-service doctors is not violative of the Regulation 9(IV) of the MCI Regulations, 2000 as the same categorically states in an unambiguous manner, inter alia, that the reservation of seats shall be as per applicable laws prevailing in the State. By giving restrictive meaning to the term 'reservation' as only constitutional reservation, it would be putting words to the legislation which is otherwise unambiguous and includes all kinds of reservation including that of in-service;

3.20.6. In-service Doctors come with vast practical experience of serving several years in the Government Health Services and treating countless patients. Whereas the fresh MBBS graduates, even though may score higher because of their recent connection with the textbooks, do not have any such experience. Their marks are only reflective of their theoretical knowledge and ability to memorize and answer examination questions. It is submitted that thus, in-service Doctors having vast experience and fresh graduates having no such experience, form two different classes and cannot be equated. It is submitted that forcing in-service Doctors to compete with the fresh graduates in their theoretical knowledge will be extremely, unfair, illogical and irrational;

3.21. In addition, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the private appellants in the Civil Appeals arising out of impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court of Calcutta and in-service candidates have further submitted that the reservation notification was issued on 18.4.2013 and the writ petition has been filed after first counselling was over for 2019 admission. All admissions were completed in May 2019 and 285 doctors out of the State quota of 699 have almost completed the first semester. It is submitted that therefore, alternatively it is prayed to observe that the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court may not affect the admission already granted and may not affect those in-service candidates who are already admitted prior to filing of the petition / impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court;

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