Legal Correspondent: Bulbul Kumari
August 31, 2021: The Five Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of TN Medial Services Officers Association v. Union of India, held that the Medical Council of India has no power to make any reservation for in-service candidates in Post Graduate Medical Course in States and that only states are allowed to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in NEET Entrance Test. The court held that it is very much within the power of the state under Entry 25, List III. Under Entry 66 List I, the Union can only extend its power in coordinating and determining the standards of higher education but that will not include providing anything with respect to reservation or mode of admission within the state quota. The Medical Council of India is constituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 under Entry 66 List I and does not have the power to make any provision for reservation. The court held that Regulation 9 of the MCI Regulations, 2000 to the extent tinkering with reservation provided by the state for in-service candidates is ultra vires on the ground that it is arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of Articles 12 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
Sec 33 of the MCI Act does not confer any authority to the MCI to frame the regulations with respect to reservation in the medical courses. The power of the state under Entry 6, List II to legislate in the subject of public health and hospital is exclusive. When the state provided separate source of admission for in-service doctors as a distinct class in exercise of powers under Entry 25 of List III read with Entry 6 of List II, it is laudable most importantly in tribal, rural and difficult areas. The state in doing so will not violate any provision of the Constitution of India.
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