A condition in the information bulletin for PGET-2018 issued by the Karnataka government which imposed a condition of domicile on candidates for admission to postgraduate medical or dental courses seats in the state has been held as invalid by the Supreme Court.
The top court directed the Karnataka government, the Directorate of Medical Education and the Karnataka Examinations Authority to modify and amend the information bulletin for the examination and re-publish the calendar of events.
A Bench of justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit referred to its 2014 verdict which dealt with a similar condition in PGET-14, denying institutional preference to students who had passed MBBS/BDS from colleges or universities situated in Karnataka.
It said that the relevant clause under consideration, of the information bulletin for PGET-2018 is identical in substance to the one that was considered in the 2014 verdict and thus it is completely covered by that decision.
The top court said that in the present circumstances, it respectfully follows the decision of 2014 case and "holds Clause 4.1 of the Information Bulletin (PGET-2018) which was published on the website on March 10, 2018 to be invalid to the extent it disqualifies petitioners and similarly situated candidates who completed their MBBS/BDS degree courses from colleges situated in Karnataka from competing for admission to Post-Graduate Medical/Dental Courses in Government Medical Colleges and against government quota seats in non-governmental institutions".
A total of 44 doctors, who have done their MBBS/BDS courses from Karnataka and have cleared the NEET-PG, 2018 examination with high merit position and are now aspiring for admission to post-graduate courses in the state have moved the Supreme Court terming the condition as ultra vires and sought direction for quashing the clause.
They submitted that the bulletin imposes a condition of domicile for admission to MD, MS and post-graduate diploma seats in Karnataka and is invalid and unconstitutional.
They contended that Clause 4.1 "arbitrarily" and "illegally" deprives the petitioners who had obtained MBBS/BDS degrees from the colleges situated in Karnataka from competing for admission to post-graduate medical/dental courses in government medical colleges and against government quota seats in non-governmental institutions.
The Karnataka government on other hand contended that the state was within its right to formulate eligibility conditions to give preference to candidates who were most likely to serve the state.
It said that under the eligibility conditions, only candidates of Karnataka origin could compete for admission to 50 per cent government seats in government colleges and against government quota seats in private colleges.
The counsel appearing for the MCI had also supported the cause of petitioners and said that present condition is similar to the 2014 eligibility criteria of PGET, which was set aside by the SC.