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Supreme Court notice to AIIMS Patna on 80 per cent quota for women nurses in hospital

The petitioners before the Apex Court has challenged the order of the Patna High Court which had upheld the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal Patna, which in turn had dismissed their plea.

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The Supreme Court today has issued notice to the Centre and All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna on a plea filed by male nursing job aspirants against the decision of the premier institute to reserve 80% seats for women towards filling vacancies of Nursing Officer (Group B).

The petitioners before the Apex Court has challenged the order of the Patna High Court which had upheld the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal Patna, which in turn had dismissed their plea.  

On Wednesday, the three-judge Bench of Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Aniruddha Bose issued notice after hearing the petitioner’s counsel Ishkaran S. Bhandari.

The Patna High Court had dismissed the writ seeking the relief to set aside the advertisement and corrigendum issued by the AIIMS Patna declaring 80% reservation for female category for the post of Nursing Officer (Staff Nursing Gr.II) and inserting skill test besides written test erroneously in the selection procedure without disclosing the marks of written test & skill test.

The issue arises after the issuance of impugned advertisement by AIIMS Patna by which applications were invited for direct recruitment on the post of Nursing Officer (Staff Nurse Grade II) for hospital services. In said advertisement, 80% of the posts were earmarked for female candidates and 20% of the posts were earmarked for male candidates. Further this also approved by the governing body of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The petitioners had challenged earmarking of 80% of posts for female candidates by filing O.A. in the CAT, Patna on the ground that same is violative of right to equality under Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India and more than 50% of posts cannot be earmarked for female.

The Union of India and AIIMS had submitted before the Patna High Court that this particular arrangement is a reservation within the meaning of Article 16(4) of the Constitution and it is a case of reasonable classification to achieve a specific objective for providing care and comfort in specialized ward and such classification is permissible under Article 14 of Constitution of India. “It is a policy decision of the apex body of AIIMS which decided to recruit and fill up vacancies by more female nursing officers than male nursing officers in all AIIMS uniformly for hospital services,” it said. 

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The High Court had noted in its order, “Being convinced by the arguments made by the UOI and AIIMS, the tribunal had held that Article 14 of Constitution of India prohibits class legislation but permits reasonable classification, depending upon the objective and purpose of the State action and same is permissible and further held that objective of providing comfort and care in specialized wards by earmarking of 80% of vacancies for female nurses is neither discriminatory, unreasonable, unfair nor arbitrary classification and dismissed the application by impugned order.”

The High Court also found no irregularity in the order passed by the Tribunal and upheld the same. Aggrieved by this order, the petitioners moved the Apex Court for relief.

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