Karnataka HC Quashed State Govt Order Regarding Seat Reduction for In-Service Candidates in PG-NEET 2022


Aastha Thakur

Published on: October 26, 2022 at 21:14 IST

The High Court of Karnataka recently quashed the government notification released on 06.10.2022, according which the seats reserved for in-service candidates for PG-NEET Examination 2022, was reduced from 30 percent to 15 percent.

The bench was led by Justices Alok Aradhe and S Vishwajith Shetty, hearing the petitions gave statement that, “The quota for in-service candidates has been reduced without assigning any cogent reasons and the decision appears to have been taken in a casual and cavalier manner. The relevant facts while reduction of quota from 30% to 15% have not been considered by the State Government while reducing the quota. The impugned notification dated 06.10.2022 suffers from the vice of non-application of mind and is arbitrary.”

The petitioners, who are all doctors employed by the Department of Health and Family Welfare in various primary health centres, had earlier informed the court that the State Government allocates a certain number of seats each year for in-service applicants to be admitted to various PG programmes. 30% of the seats had been reserved by the State Government for in-service candidates by way of a notification dated 19.01.2022.

Furthermore, it was claimed that a circular from the Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare Services, dated February 4, 2022, permitted the petitioners to apply for postgraduate programmes against the in-service quota based on their performance in the PG-NEET entrance exam.

The petitioners enrolled themselves for the PG courses. The merit list was issued on 29.09.2022 by The Director of Medical Education, 130 candidates were found eligible to appear for counselling for admission to postgraduate courses. But State Government also released notification dated 06.10.2022 regarding PG-coursed wherein out of total number of government post graduate seats in government as well as medical colleges, 85% of the seats were earmarked for non-in-service candidates and 15% of the seats were earmarked for in-service candidates.

Court’s Observation:

The Supreme Court’s decisions on the object and purpose of establishing a distinct source of admission for in-service candidates were cited by the court, which found a legal and rational foundation for doing so in order to encourage in-service candidates to offer their services in remote areas.

The court further highlighted that, “It was further held that there was a sufficient nexus with a larger role of equalisation of educational opportunities. It was also held that in the absence of such an incentive, there would be a serious dearth of qualified post graduate Doctors to meet the requirement of the common public,”

The decision to reduce the limit from 30% to 15% in order to provide seats for worthy non-in-service students was deemed a “wholly irrelevant criteria” by the division bench.

Further it said that the in-service candidate selection should have better ratio of choice. For the last year, the proportion between in-service of candidate was much better and in respect of seats it was 1 : 5, i.e., 1 candidate had at the option of choosing 1 out of 5 available seats, which has been reduced to this year to virtually 1 : 1 i.e., a candidate has to choose 1 seat which is available.

The court stated that the reduction in the in-service candidate quota was done without providing any convincing explanations and that the decision appeared to have been made hastily and improperly.

The bench granted the petitions and while setting aside the order also revoked the seat matrix that the Director of Medical Education released on October 9, 2022. The court said that, “i n order to fill the seats, it is evident that the State Government is free to prescribe the in-service candidate quota afresh while taking into account relevant conditions.


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