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Delhi High Court refuses to entertain plea of Delhi OBC PG medical aspirants

The Court also noted, it is an admitted fact that all the candidates including the petitioners, were given an option to change to the Un-Reserved Category, which option they admittedly exercised, leads to only one conclusion, that neither were the petitioners taken by surprise nor has any prejudice been caused to them on account of the impugned notification.

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The Delhi High Court has refused to entertain the plea of “Delhi OBC” post-graduate medical aspirants challenging the last minute change in OBC reservation criteria, modified by the Medical Counselling Committee for institutional preference seats in Central institutes.

The challenge was made to change by the MCC by its notice dated 10.01.2022, on two basis; one that MCC had changed the ‘rules of the game’ after the commencement of the counselling and that too, just before when the candidates were required to fill their choices on 13.01.2022. The second being that the medical colleges in question, i.e., VMMC and ABVIMS are not Central educational institutions within the meaning of section 2 (d) of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2007 and, therefore, the MCC has no authority in law to deprive the Delhi OBC candidates of their right to be considered under the Delhi OBC quota against the 50% institutional preference seats of respondent no.2/University.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli has noted that upon a holistic reading of the Bulletin issued by the MCC and the Brochure issued by CEI, it is apparent that the respondents’ intention to rely only on the Central OBC list for reservation even for institutional preference seats, was made abundantly clear from day one itself. “Therefore, it cannot be said that there was any change in the ‘rules of the game’ after it had begun. At best, it was a case where a clarification was issued belatedly, yet the same was also issued before the counselling was to begin on 13.01.2022,” held the Delhi High Court.

The Court also noted it is an admitted fact that all the candidates including the petitioners, were given an option to change to the Un-Reserved Category, which option they admittedly exercised, leads to only one conclusion, that neither were the petitioners taken by surprise nor has any prejudice been caused to them on account of the impugned notification.

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Moreover, the petitioners’ alternative prayer that they be given an opportunity to apply in the Un-Reserved category has already been granted and about 1,200 similarly situated candidates have exercised this option; in fact, a number of petitioners’ have been allotted seats in the Un-Reserved category and therefore, on this count also the petition is liable to be rejected,” it added.

The High Court has observed that “‘rules of the game’ cannot be changed after the select list is published” is not applicable to the facts of the present case. In the present case, there is no last minute change but only a last minute clarification of an inadvertent error & therefore Dismissed the Petition.

The petitioners submitted that on 10.01.2022, MCC notified that the registration and payment by candidates for counselling was to commence on 12.01.2022 & another Notice on its website titled “Salient points regarding changes in PG 2021”, wherein the differences in the counselling and the admission guidelines for the NEET-PG 2021 vis-a-vis the NEET-PG 2020 were notified.

MCC’s revised counselling Information Bulletin on 10.01.2022 & then again on 12.01.2022 clause dealing with the reservation policy for Central institutes including Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital (VMMC) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee IMS (ABVIMS) were changed along with the answer to FAQ No. 50 was also changed. As per this policy, OBC reservation for PG against institutional preference seats was now restricted only to candidates in the central OBC list, contrary to the policy followed in NEET-PG 2020 when candidates in Delhi OBC were eligible. Aggrieved by the revised bulletin, Petitioners approached the High Court.

Before the High Court, Senior Counsel Venugopal for the petitioners (candidates falling in the Delhi OBC) had submitted that they were eligible for admission against the OBC seats in the 50% institutional preference seats under Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University’s Brochure as well as MCC’s Information Bulletin. And these Notifications & brochures are important documents & extremely vital for the prospective students to take decisions regarding the applications. Moreover the Medical colleges in question, i.e., VMMC and ABVIMS are not central educational institutions within the meaning of section 2 (d) of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2007 and, therefore, the MCC has no authority in law to deprive the Delhi OBC candidates of their right to be considered under the Delhi OBC quota against the 50% institutional preference seats of respondent no.2/University.

Whereas the Counsel for the respondents refuted the said submission and argued that a notice was issued on 15.01.2022 providing an option to the candidates to change their category to unreserved from SC/ST/OBC/EWS/PwD, so as to enable them to participate as an unreserved candidate in the counselling process & petitioners have exercised this option, and already participated in the first round of counselling as unreserved candidates. About 1200 candidates have changed their category and many of them have been allotted seats in postgraduate courses, where they have already joined, including some of the petitioners, he said.

Further, he had submitted, that merely an error qua answer to Q. No.50 in the FAQs cannot entitle the petitioners to now urge that they were under an impression that the OBC candidates in the Delhi OBC list will also be entitled to reservation in these central institutes.

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He highlighted Clause 6.1.4 in GGSIPU General Admissions Brochure published on 10.06.2021, clearly mentions that the OBC reservation policy was not applicable in Master’s and PG courses and Para 6.6information bulletin issued by MCC on 03.10.2021 in itself made it clear that both VMMC and ABVIMS are central institutes. He said, the OBC seats in the said institute will be filled as per the central government list And also highlighted Para 7.2 of the Brochure, which clearly mentions that out of the total seats available for admissions, 50% seats would be reserved for the All India Quota, to be filled up on the basis of All India Entrance Test conducted by an institution on behalf of the DGHS, Government of India and the other 50% would be reserved for MBBS graduates of GGSIPU. And what was earlier referred to as ‘State Quota’ would now be referred to as ‘GGSIPU Quota’ and therefore it was apparent that the Delhi OBC list would no longer be relevant as it was no longer a state quota but an institutional quota.

He placed his reliance on Dr. Pradeep Jain v Union of India 1984 (3) SCC 654 & Nikhil Himtahni v. State of Uttrakhand & Ors., the issue as to whether resident/domicile based reservation is permissible has been referred in Dr. Tanvi Behl v. Shrey Goel and Ors. 2020 13 SCC 675 which clarified that no such reservation is permissible.

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Case Name- Dr Vishal Dahiya & Ors Vs The Medical Counselling Committee Mcc & Anr.

Read the Judgment here;

REP15022022CW9922022-153038

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