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SC constitution bench says MCI has no power to reserve seats in NEET PG for in-service docs

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SC also rules docs must sign bonds to serve in rural/remote areas for 5 years

New Delhi: A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court today held that the Medical Council of India (MCI) has no power to either provide or not provide reservation for in-service doctors in the admission process for post-graduation courses. The bench’s verdict came after it considered constitutional principles and MCI Act.

A constitution bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Indra Banerjee, Justice Vineet Saran, Justice M. R. Shah & Justice Aniruddha Bose has held that the MCI regulation allowing in-service reservation is unconstitutional. That power belongs to the state.

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The Medical Council of India Act is referable to Entry 66, List 1, which is a limited source of power to lay down standards. The MCI is a statutory body, and has no power to make provisions for reservations, the bench ruled. Only states have legislative competence to make special provisions for reservations.

The bench also added that regulations Must provide for work bonds for service in rural/remote areas for persons who get PG admission through this reservation. Doctors (in government employ) must sign a five-year bond to serve in rural/remote area postings.

States must formulate schemes for rural/remote service by in-service doctors after completing PG degree, ruled the bench

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On July 14, the Bench had reserved its judgement on whether States have the power to provide reservation in Post-Graduate (PG) medical courses to in-service candidates. The petitioners had challenged parts of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 on the ground that they remove a State’s power to legislate the ‘manner and method’ for admission to PG medical programmes. They had submitted that while medical education is under the Union List (Entry 25, List III), admissions are subject to the Concurrent List (Entry 66, List I).

-India Legal Bureau

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