The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the state government's appeal challenging the Bombay high court's stay order on its rule and notice making domicile mandatory for admissions to postgraduate (PG) medical courses in the state.
Nishant Katneshwarkar, the state government's standing counsel in the apex court, confirmed the development to TOI when contacted over the phone. “The SC bench has disposed of the appeal without granting any relief. The bench has, however, given a direction that the deadline for completion of the first round of counselling for PG medical admissions be extended to May 9 from the earlier May 7,“ he said.
“Consequent to the proceedings in the apex court today, the impugned (under challenge) order of the high court stands confirmed,“ Katneshwarkar said.
The appeal came up for hearing before the apex court bench of Justice Deepak Misra and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar. Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta and Katneshwarkar appeared for the state. “Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for the medical graduates, who had petitioned the high court against the domicile rule,“ said lawyer Pooja Thorat, who represented the petitioners in the high court.
The state now plans to ensure that the domicile policy is successfully implemented next year for PG courses through an amendment in their existing legislation. It also plans to release a resolution well in advance to implement it successfully in the under-graduate admissions that will commence in June. At the under-graduate level, domicile was made mandatory last year in private and government colleges. The state, though, will now have to take steps to introduce the policy in deemed universities as well, said Pravin Shingare, director, directorate of medical education and research.
In a rare Sunday sitting on April 30, the HC had ordered a stay on the government resolution (GR) of April 27 which rendered PG medical aspirants from outside Maharashtra ineligible for admission to government medical colleges in the state on the grounds that they were not domiciled here.For domicile, a person must have resided in the state for at least 15 years.
The HC also stayed a notice issued by the state Common Entrance Test (CET) cell on April 28 changing the eligibility criteria following the GR. It held the state decision as “arbitrary“ and “unsustainable“.
The state's sudden move in the midst of the PG medical admission process affected close to 700 medical graduates who were overnight rendered ineligible for not being domiciled. Many of them have done their MBBS from government as well as private medical colleges in Maharashtra on being admitted through the 15% all India or defence quotas.
In its special leave petition filed through Katneshwarkar on May 2, the state had argued that it was “empowered to prescribe state quota seats in government colleges, private unaided colleges, deemed univer sities and minority institutions. That, the intention was if more local candidates get admission in the prescribed PG medical courses, then more doctors will be available for providing medical services to the people in Maharashtra“.