The Bombay High Court today upheld the Maharashtra government’s state quota eligibility rules-2018 for admissions to medical colleges under the state quota.
The rules were mentioned in an information brochure by the state’s admission cell for 2018 medical admissions.
A bench of Justices SC Dharamadhikari and Bharati Dangre refused to interfere with the state’s rules that mandate that an applicant seeking admissions to one of the 31 private and government medical colleges across the state under the state quota must possess a domicile of Maharashtra.
In addition, these rules also lay down that such an applicant must have passed his/her class X and XII exams from a school in the state.
Those who meet the above criteria can avail of the 85 per cent reservation under the state quota in medical colleges across Maharashtra.
This rule, however, had been challenged through a bunch of petitions filed by aspiring medical students from across the state.
The petitioners had argued that since they possessed a domicile of Maharashtra, though they had not passed their class X or XII exams from the state, they must still be granted admissions under the state quota.
The state Directorate of Medical Education and Research, however, had defended the rules before the court.
Appearing for the state, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had told the bench that the state quota rules had been made to promote local talent in the field of medicine and public health.
The bench also noted that two previous judgements of Bombay HC, and one of the Supreme Court, upheld Maharashtra’s state quota rules for medical admissions in the past.
The bench also dismissed the arguments of the petitioners that the classification on domicile and schooling imposed by the state was discriminatory.
The court held that the rules were not violative of Constitutional principles of equality since they were based on the rationale of promoting local talent, who in turn, were likely to “serve the state in the field of public health in the future.”
It also said that it could not “take a view different” from that taken by the previous HC and SC judgements since those judgements had weighed all aspects of the law thoroughly.
The bench, however, also reprimanded the state government for lack of coordination among its various departments.
It noted that earlier this year, while the Nagpur bench of Bombay HC was hearing similar petitions, the state government had decided not to oppose the students.
Though, later, the state had changed its stand and said that it was going to challenge the Nagpur bench’s order granting relief to some students.
“We hope that in the future the concerned departments will have more coordination. The student community must not suffer because of lack of coordination between various departments of the state,” the bench said.