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Thursday, April 5, 2018

corporate laws - Education Laws - Neet PG- 44 Doctors who did their MBBS/BDS Courses from State of Karnataka and have cleared the NEET-PG, 2018 examination with high merit position and are aspiring for admission to Post-Graduate Courses in Karnataka. The principal prayer in the writ petition seeks issuance of an appropriate writ, order or direction quashing Clause 4 of the Information Bulletin jointly issued by Directorate of Medical Education, = the Information Bulletin for PGET-2014 did not actually give institutional preference to students who had passed MBBS/BDS from Colleges or universities in State of Karnataka but made some of them ineligible to take the entrance test for admission to PostGraduate Medical or Dental Course in State of Karnataka and that said clause was held ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution and declared null and void. The relevant clause under consideration, namely, Clause 4.1 of the Information Bulletin for PGET-2018 is identical in substance to the one that was considered in Vishal Goyal (supra). The matter is thus no longer resintegra and is completely covered by the decision in Vishal Goyal (supra). In the circumstances, we respectfully follow the decision of this Court in Vishal Goyal (supra) and hold Clause 4.1 of the Information Bulletin (PGET-2018) which was published on the website on 10.03.2018 to be invalid to the extent it disqualifies petitioners and similarly situated candidates who completed their MBBS/BDS Degree Courses from colleges situated in Karnataka from competing for admission to Post-Graduate Medical/Dental Courses in Government Medical Colleges and against government quota seats in non-governmental institutions This writ petition stands allowed in the aforesaid terms. State of Karnataka and Respondent Nos.2 and 3 are directed to suitably modify and amend the Information Bulletin in question in keeping with the observations made in this Judgment and re-publish the Calendar of Events in terms of this Judgment and complete the entire process within the timeline stipulated by the concerned regulatory authorities.

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.204 OF 2018
Dr. Kriti Lakhina and Others ….Petitioners
Versus
State of Karnataka and Others …. Respondents
J U D G M E N T
Uday Umesh Lalit, J.
1. This petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India has been
filed by 44 Doctors who did their MBBS/BDS Courses from State of
Karnataka and have cleared the NEET-PG, 2018 examination with high
merit position and are aspiring for admission to Post-Graduate Courses in
Karnataka. The principal prayer in the writ petition seeks issuance of an
appropriate writ, order or direction quashing Clause 4 of the Information
Bulletin jointly issued by Directorate of Medical Education, Government of
2
Karnataka and Karnataka Examinations Authority, Government of
Karnataka, Respondent Nos.2 and 3 respectively.
2. The Information Bulletin in question lays down, inter alia, conditions
for admission to Post-Graduate Medical and Dental Courses in respect of
government quota seats in Medical/Dental Colleges in State of Karnataka
and was published on the website on 10.03.2018. Relevant portion of
Clause 4 of this Information Bulletin deals with eligibility conditions in
following terms:
“4. ELIGIBILITY
4.1 ELIGIBILITY for Government seats (G) &GMP
seats:
A candidate who fulfills the following criteria is eligible
to appear for the online seat allotment process, namely:-
 He/she is a citizen of India, who is of Karnataka Origin
and has studied MBBS or BDS degree in a Medical or Dental
College situated in Karnataka or outside Karnataka and
affiliated to any University established by law in India
recognized by Medical Council of India or Dental Council of
India and Government of India and has qualified in the NEET
(National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test) for admission to post
graduate medical or dental degree/diploma courses.
Note: Children for the purpose of the rule means natural born
son/daughter and not adopted son/daughter and not
grandson/grand daughter.
3
Explanation: A candidate of Karnataka Origin: means, a
candidate found eligible under clause A or B below.
(Clause A)
i) A candidate who has studied and passed in one or more
Government or Government recognized, educational
institutions located in the State of Karnataka for a minimum
period of TEN academic years as on the 31st March, 2018,
commencing for 1st standard to MBBS/BDS and must have
appeared and passed either SSLC/10th standard or 2nd PUC/12th
standard examination from Karnataka State. In case of the
candidate who has taken more than one year to pass a class or
standard, the year of academic study is counted as one year
only (Document to be produced)
(Clause B)
ii) The candidate should have studied and passed 1st and 2nd
year Pre-University Examination or 11th or 12th standard
examination within the State of Karnataka from an Educational
Institution run or recognized by the State Government or
MBBS/BDS from a professional educational institution located
in Karnataka and that either of the parents must have
studied/resided in Karnataka for a minimum period of 10 years.
(Documents to be produced)”
3. It is submitted by the petitioners that this Information Bulletin issued
by Respondent Nos.2 and 3, to the extent Clause 4.1 thereof imposes a
condition of domicile for admission to MD, MS and Post-Graduate Diploma
seats in State of Karnataka is invalid and unconstitutional. According to the
petitioners said Clause 4.1 arbitrarily and illegally deprives the petitioners
who had obtained MBBS/BDS Degrees from the Colleges situated in
4
Karnataka from competing for admission to Post-Graduate Medical/Dental
Curses in Government Medical Colleges and against Government quota
seats in non-Governmental institutions. Reliance has been placed on the
Judgment of this Court in Vishal Goyal and Others v. State of Karnataka
and Others1
to submit that the controversy is no longer res-integra and the
view taken in Vishal Goyal (supra) ought to have been adhered to by
Respondent Nos.2 and 3 while issuing the Bulletin.
4. Since the matter involves urgency and the career prospects of the
petitioners and similarly situated candidates are in question, the matter was
taken up for hearing immediately. State of Karnataka entered appearance
and has filed its reply submitting inter alia, that under the eligibility
conditions, only candidates of Karnataka origin could compete for admission
to 50% government seats in government colleges and against government
quota seats in private colleges. The reply further stated that these eligibility
conditions were stipulated in order to ensure that the State’s requirement of
skilled human resource is met with and that the Post-Graduate Medical
Education Regulation 2000 (‘2000 Regulations’ for short) of Medical
Council of India do not prohibit the State from stipulating eligibility
conditions for Post-Graduate courses. According to certain statistics given
1
 (2014) 11 SCC 456
5
in the reply, candidates of Karnataka origin numbering 4093 candidates
would be competing for admission to 1828 seats while 10003 candidates of
origin other than Karnataka which number includes 1263 candidates from
outside the State who had studied and completed MBBS/BDS Courses from
the colleges situated in Karnataka would be competing for admission to
2301 seats. The reply further submitted that the State was within its right to
formulate eligibility conditions to give preference to candidates who were
most likely to serve the State.
5. In its reply, Medical Council of India (“MCI”, for short) submitted
that the Information Bulletin (PGET-2014) issued by the State of Karnataka
in the year 2014 contained similar eligibility criteria as provided in Clause
4.1 of the present Information Bulletin (PGET-2018) which was challenged
in the case of Vishal Goyal (supra) and that this Court held the preference
based on domicile to be violative of the principle of equality and liable to be
set aside. After referring to various Judgments of this Court the reply set
out the emerging legal position as perceived by MCI in following terms:-
“a. Reservation of seats at the post graduate level has been in
principle disapproved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court;
b. Reservation of seats at the post graduate level on the
basis of domicile/ residence/ place of origin is impermissible
and cannot be done by the State;
6
c. Institutional reservation/ preference for reserving seats at
the post graduate level is permissible subject to an outer limit of
50%;
d. Institutional reservation/ preference can be invalidated on
the ground that the same is violative of the principle of equality
enshrined under Article 14 of the Constitution of India;
e. There cannot be any domicile requirement imposed by
the State while implementing institutional reservation;
f. Institutional reservation/ preference disguised as domicile
reservation has been held to be invalid and violative of Article
14 of the Constitution.”
6. We heard Mr. Amrendra Sharan, learned Senior Advocate for the
petitioners, Mr. Basavaprabhu S. Patil, learned Senior Advocate for State of
Karnataka and official respondents and Mr. Gaurav Sharma, learned
Advocate for MCI.
7. Mr. Sharan, learned Senior Advocate relied upon the decisions of this
Court in Dr. Pradeep Jain and Others v. Union of India and Others2
,
Saurabh Chaudri and Others v. Union of India and Others3
, Magan
Mehrotra and Others v. Union of India and Others4
, Nikhil Himthani v.
State of Uttarakhand and Others5
 and finally on the decision of this Court
in Vishal Goyal (supra). In his submission these decisions as culminated in
2
 (1984) 3 SCC 654 paras 20, 22 and 24
3
 (2003) 11 SCC 146 paras 29, 69 and 70
4
 (2003)11 SCC 186 paras 3 and 8
5
 (2013) 10 SCC 237 para 3
7
the decision in Vishal Goyal (supra) fully conclude the matter. These
submissions were supported by Mr. Gaurav Sharma, learned Advocate for
the MCI.
8. Mr. Patil, learned Senior Advocate, on the other hand relied upon the
decision of this Court in D.P. Joshi v. State of Madhya Bharat and
Another6
 and on paragraphs 6, 13 and 16 of the decision in Dr. Pradeep
Jain (supra), in support of his submissions.
9. After conclusion of hearing, written submissions were filed by the
parties. In their written submissions, petitioners inter alia submitted that
Clause 4.1 of the Information Bulletin in question was violative of Article 14
of the Constitution and was opposed to Regulation 9 of 2000 Regulations. A
chart was appended showing similarity between Clause 2 of PGET-2014
which was subject matter of the decision in Vishal Goyal (supra) and the
present Clause 4.1. In its written submissions MCI also relied upon 2000
Regulations and specially Regulation 9 thereof. It was further submitted:
 “It is important to note that there are primarily two types of
courses at post-graduate level i.e. post-graduate diploma
courses and post graduate degree courses. On a close reading
of Regulation 9(IV) and 9(VII) the distinction between post
graduate diploma course and post-graduate degree course is
apparent. It needs to be emphasized that as per Regulation 9
6
 AIR 1955 SC 334 = 1955 (1) SCR 1215
8
and the amendments made therein from time to time,
reservation of seats for in-service candidates is only permissible
in post-graduate diploma courses. Further, there is no provision
under the IMC Act, 1956 and the Regulations framed
thereunder which permits reservation in post-graduate degree
courses.”
10. State of Karnataka in its written submissions sought to justify the
action but did not explain how the decision in Vishal Goyal (supra) would
not be applicable in the present case. It was however submitted:-
“The State of Karnataka has 11615 Public Health Care
Institutions managed by the Health and Family Department of
the State. It is the objective of the State to provide secondary
and tertiary care services too within the reach of common
public. This objective is sought to be fulfilled by setting up of
new State of the art institutions and strengthen the existing
institutions through provisions of equipments, up-gradation of
infrastructure and recruitment of skilled man power. Today,
there are 3435 posts of specialists about which 1312 are vacant,
underlying the deficiency of skilled medical professional to
address the health care needs of the State. In the medical and
dental educational institutions out of 2700 posts of specialists,
517 are vacant highlighting the deficiency of skilled medical
teachers to address the medical teachers’ needs of the State. 16
out of 39 medical colleges in Karnataka are run by the State.
There are 970 senior resident posts in these medical colleges,
524 of which are vacant. The State has to ensure that these
posts are filled up at any given point of time as stipulated by
Medical Council of India. If these remain vacant for want of
specialist, de-recognition looms large with the risk of
jeopardizing the future of both undergraduate and post-graduate
candidates’ studying in these colleges. The posts of senior
resident need to be filled by fresh post graduates passing out
every year. There is a huge requirement of specialists to run
these institutions. Hence the State Government has to ensure
9
availability of adequate number of post graduates to fill these
posts.”

11. The decision of this Court in Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra) had considered
the Judgments rendered in Kumari N. Vasundara v. State of Mysore and
Another7
, Minor P. Rajendran v. State of Madras and Others8
, Minor A.
Peeriakaruppan v. State of Tamil Nadu and Others9
 and D.N. Chanchala
v. The State of Mysore and Others10 as well as the decision in Dr. Jagadish
Saran and others v. Union of India11 and finally concluded:
“…. We unreservedly condemn wholesale reservation made by
some of the State Government on the basis of institutional
preference for students who have passed the qualifying
examination held by the university or the State excluding all
students not satisfying this requirement, regardless of merit.
We declare such wholesale reservation to be unconstitutional
and void as being in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.”
12. During the course of its Judgment in Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra) this
Court also considered the impact of submissions from the concerned States
as advanced in various Judgments that were considered in paragraphs 14 to
16, which submissions were similar to the ones advanced before us by the
State either in the reply or in the written submissions. Para 22 of the
7
 (1971) Suppl. SCR 381 = (1971) 2 SCC 22
8
 1968 (2) SCR 786
9
 1971 (2) SCR 430 = (1971) 1 SCC 38 = AIR 1971 SC 2303
10 (1971) Suppl SCR 608 = (1971) 2 SCC 293
11 (1980) 2 SCC 768= 1980 (2) SCR 831
10
decision in Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra) finally summed up the matter as
regards post graduate courses as under:-
“22. ….. The Medical Education Review Committee has also
expressed the opinion that “all admissions to the post-graduate
courses in any institution should be open to candidates on an
all-India basis and there should be no restriction regarding
domicile in the State/Union Territory in which the institution is
located”. So also in the policy statement filed by the learned
Attorney General, the Government of India has categorically
expressed the view that:
“So far as admission to the institutions of postgraduate
colleges and special professional colleges
is concerned, it should be entirely on the basis of
all-India merit subject to constitutional
reservations in favour of Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes.”
We are therefore of the view that so far as admissions to
post-graduate courses, such as MS, MD and the like are
concerned, it would be eminently desirable not to provide for
any reservation based on residence requirement within the State
or on institutional preference. But, having regard to broader
considerations of equality of opportunity and institutional
continuity in education which has its own importance and
value, we would direct that though residence requirement
within the State shall not be a ground for reservation in
admissions to post-graduate courses, a certain percentage of
seats may in the present circumstances, be reserved on the basis
of institutional preference in the sense that a student who has
passed MBBS course from a medical college or university, may
be given preference for admission to the post-graduate course in
the same medical college or university but such reservation on
the basis of institutional preference should not in any event
exceed 50 per cent of the total number of open seats available
for admission to the post-graduate course…..”
11
13. In Vishal Goyal (supra) the challenge was to the validity of Clause 2.1
of the Information Bulletin for PGET-2014. The eligibility conditions as
laid down in said Clause 2.1 are identical to those stipulated in the present
clause, namely, Clause 4.1 of PGET-2018. Paragraphs 4, 10 to 13 and 15 of
the decision in Vishal Goyal (supra) were as under:
“4. The said Clause 2.1 of the two Information Bulletins, which
is identically worded for admissions to postgraduate medical
and postgraduate dental courses, is extracted hereinbelow:
“2.1. No candidate shall be admitted to a professional
educational institution unless the candidate possesses the
following qualifications or eligibility to appear for the
entrance test namely:
(a) He is a citizen of India who is of Karnataka
origin and has studied MBBS/BDS degree in a
medical/dental college situated in Karnataka or
outside Karnataka, and affiliated to any university
established by law in India recognised by Medical
Council of India and the Government of India.
Explanation.—‘A candidate of Karnataka Origin’
means a candidate found eligible under clause (i)
or (ii) below, namely:
(i) A candidate who has studied and passed in
one or more government recognised educational
institutions located in the State of Karnataka for a
minimum period of TEN academic years as on the
last date fixed for the submission of application
form, commencing from 1st standard to
MBBS/BDS and must have appeared and passed
either SSLC/10th standard or 2nd PUC/12th
12
standard examination from Karnataka State. In
case of the candidate who has taken more than one
year to pass a class or standard, the years of
academic study is counted as one year only.
Documents to be produced, namely:
(1) SSLC or 10th standard marks card.
(2) 2nd PUC or 12th standard marks card of the
candidate.
(3) Candidates Study Certificate: A study certificate
from the Head of educational institution where he or
she had studied. Further, School Study Certificates
should be countersigned by the Block Education
Officer (BEO)/Deputy Director of Public
Instructions (DDPI) concerned COMPULSORILY
in the proforma prescribed.
(4) Qualifying degree certificate and all phases
marks card.
(5) Domicile certificate issued by the Tahsildar in
the prescribed proforma (Annexure I); and if
claiming reservation benefits: Caste/Caste Income
Certificate issued by Tahsildar concerned, for SC/ST
in Form D, Category 1 in Form E and 2-A, 2-B, 3-A
and 3-B in Form F.
(6) MCI/DCI State Council Registration Certificate.
(7) Attempt Certificate issued by the college
Principal concerned.
(ii) The candidate should have studied and
passed 1st and 2nd years Pre-University
Examination or 11th and 12th standard
examination within the State of Karnataka from an
educational institution run or recognised by the
State Government or MBBS/BDS from a
professional educational institution located in
Karnataka and that either of the parents should
13
have studied in Karnataka for a minimum period of
10 years.
Documents to be produced, namely:
(1) SSLC or 10th standard marks card.
(2) 2nd PUC or 12th standard marks card of the
candidate.
(3) Qualifying degree certificate and all phases
marks card.
(4) Domicile certificate issued by the Tahsildar in
the prescribed proforma (Annexure I).
(5) If claiming reservation benefits: Caste/Caste
Income Certificate issued by Tahsildar concerned,
for SC/ST in Form D, Category 1 in Form E and 2-
A, 2-B, 3-A and 3-B in Form F; and
(6) (a) A study certificate for either of the parent
having studied for at least 10 years in Karnataka
from the Head of the educational institution where
he/she had studied. Further, school study certificates
should be countersigned by the Block Educational
Officer (BEO)/Deputy Director of Public
Instructions (DDPI) concerned COMPULSORILY
in the proforma prescribed (Annexure III).
(b) The candidates study certificate for
having studied both 1st and 2nd PUC or 11th and
12th standard in Karnataka issued by the Head of
the educational institution.
(7) MCI/DCI State Council Registration Certificate.
(8) Attempt Certificate issued by the college Principal
concerned.”
 …………
10. We have considered the submissions of the learned counsel
for the parties and we find that the basis of the judgment of this
14
Court in Pradeep Jain case is Article 14 of the Constitution
which guarantees to every person equality before the law and
equal protection of the laws. As explained by this Court in paras
12 and 13 of the judgment in Nikhil Himthani v. State of
Uttarakhand: (SCC pp. 244-45)
“12. Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees to
every person equality before law and equal
protection of laws. In Jagadish Saran v. Union of
India, Krishna Iyer, J., writing the judgment on
behalf of the three Judges referring to Article 14 of
the Constitution held that equality of opportunity
for every person in the country is the constitutional
guarantee and therefore merit must be the test for
selecting candidates, particularly in the higher
levels of education like postgraduate medical
courses, such as MD. In the language of Krishna
Iyer, J.: (SCC pp. 778-79, para 23)
‘23. Flowing from the same stream of equalism is
another limitation. The basic medical needs of a
region or the preferential push justified for a
handicapped group cannot prevail in the same
measure all the highest scales of speciality where
the best skill or talent, must be handpicked by
selecting according to capability. At the level of
PhD, MD, or levels of higher proficiency, where
international measure of talent is made, where
losing one great scientist or technologist in-themaking
is a national loss, the considerations we
have expanded upon a important lose their
potency. Here equality, measured by matching
excellence, has more meaning and cannot be
diluted much without grave risk.’
13. Relying on the aforesaid reasons in Jagadish
Saran v. Union of India, a three-Judge Bench of
this Court in Pradeep Jain case held that
excellence cannot be compromised by any other
15
consideration for the purpose of admission to
postgraduate medical courses such as MD/MS and
the like because that would be detrimental to the
interests of the nation and therefore reservation
based on residential requirement in the State will
affect the right to equality of opportunity under
Article 14 of the Constitution….”
In Magan Mehrotra v. Union of India and Saurabh
Chaudri v. Union of India also, this Court has approved the
aforesaid view in Pradeep Jain case that excellence cannot be
compromised by any other consideration for the purpose of
admission to postgraduate medical courses such as MD/MS and
the like because that would be detrimental to the interests of the
nation and will affect the right to equality of opportunity under
Article 14 of the Constitution.
 11. Mr Mariarputham is right that in Saurabh Chaudri v.
Union of India this Court has held that institutional preference
can be given by a State, but in the aforesaid decision of
Saurabh Chaudri, it has also been held that decision of the
State to give institutional preference can be invalidated by the
court in the event it is shown that the decision of the State is
ultra vires the right to equality under Article 14 of the
Constitution. When we examine sub-clause (a) of Clause 2.1 of
the two Information Bulletins, we find that the expression “A
candidate of Karnataka origin” who only is eligible to appear
for entrance test has been so defined as to exclude a candidate
who has studied MBBS or BDS in an institution in the State of
Karnataka but who does not satisfy the other requirements of
sub-clause (a) of Clause 2.1 of the Information Bulletin for
PGET-2014. Thus, the institutional preference sought to be
given by sub-clause (a) of Clause 2.1 of the Information
Bulletin for PGET-2014 is clearly contrary to the judgment of
this Court in Pradeep Jain case.
12. To quote from para 22 of the judgment in Pradeep Jain
case: (SCC p. 693)
16
“22. … a certain percentage of seats may in the
present circumstances, be reserved on the basis of
institutional preference in the sense that a student
who has passed MBBS course from a medical
college or university, may be given preference for
admission to the postgraduate course in the same
medical college or university….”
13. Sub-clause (a) of Clause 2.1 of the two Information
Bulletins does not actually give institutional preference to
students who have passed MBBS or BDS from colleges or
universities in the State of Karnataka, but makes some of them
ineligible to take the entrance test for admission to postgraduate
medical or dental courses in the State of Karnataka to which the
Information Bulletins apply.
…………
15. In the result, we allow the writ petitions, declare sub-clause
(a) of Clause 2.1 of the two Information Bulletins for
postgraduate medical and dental courses for PGET-2014 as
ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution and null and void. The
respondent will now publish fresh Information Bulletins and do
the admissions to the postgraduate medical and dental courses
in the government colleges as well as the State quota of the
private colleges in accordance with the law by the end of June
2014 on the basis of the results of the entrance test already held.
We also order that the general time schedule for counselling and
admissions to postgraduate medical courses in our order dated
14-3-2014 in Fraz Naseem v. Union of India12 will not apply to
such admissions in the State of Karnataka for the academic year
2014-2015. Similarly, the general time schedule for counselling
and admissions for postgraduate dental courses will not apply to
such admissions in the State of Karnataka. The parties shall
bear their own costs.”
12 (2014) 11 SCC 453
17
14. Paragraphs 13 and 15 of the Judgment of this Court in Vishal Goyal
(supra) are clear that the Information Bulletin for PGET-2014 did not
actually give institutional preference to students who had passed
MBBS/BDS from Colleges or universities in State of Karnataka but made
some of them ineligible to take the entrance test for admission to PostGraduate
Medical or Dental Course in State of Karnataka and that said
clause was held ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution and declared null
and void. The relevant clause under consideration, namely, Clause 4.1 of the
Information Bulletin for PGET-2018 is identical in substance to the one that
was considered in Vishal Goyal (supra). The matter is thus no longer resintegra
and is completely covered by the decision in Vishal Goyal (supra).
In the circumstances, we respectfully follow the decision of this Court in
Vishal Goyal (supra) and hold Clause 4.1 of the Information Bulletin
(PGET-2018) which was published on the website on 10.03.2018 to be
invalid to the extent it disqualifies petitioners and similarly situated
candidates who completed their MBBS/BDS Degree Courses from colleges
situated in Karnataka from competing for admission to Post-Graduate
Medical/Dental Courses in Government Medical Colleges and against
government quota seats in non-governmental institutions 
18
15. This writ petition stands allowed in the aforesaid terms. State of
Karnataka and Respondent Nos.2 and 3 are directed to suitably modify and
amend the Information Bulletin in question in keeping with the observations
made in this Judgment and re-publish the Calendar of Events in terms of
this Judgment and complete the entire process within the timeline stipulated
by the concerned regulatory authorities.
...…..…………….J.
 (Arun Mishra)
...……….……….J.
(Uday Umesh Lalit)
New Delhi
April 4, 2018

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