The Supreme Court on Friday (December 3, 2021) dismissed a writ petition filed by doctors who appeared in NEET PG 2021 challenging the notice dated October 8, 2021, issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, West Bengal that provides for reservations of 40 per cent for in-service medical/dental officers. The case issue was heard by the bench of Justice LN Rao and BR Gavai.
The Notice issued by Government of West Bengal, Department of Health and Family Welfare reads, "Notification regarding the provision of in-service quota in postgraduate medical and dental and post-doctoral medical counselling for state quota seats government/private colleges, for such courses, in West Bengal which inter alia provides for 40% reservation for in-service medical/dental officers." ("Impugned Notice")
Last year, the Supreme Court directed the counselling to proceed without providing in-service reservation in super speciality courses. The bench mentioned that the said order was passed and the admission process was then in the final stages. As far as the present year is concerned, counselling is yet to commence.
"So far as competence of state legislature is there I am not assailing that. What I am pointing out is that at least for this year the implementation of this circular should not be implemented," Senior Advocate Sonia Mathur submitted.
About the petition
The petitioners were represented by Dubey Law Associates and the petition was filed through Advocate Charu Mathur. Averring that the added 40 per cent reservation for in-service category was in sheer disregard to the fundamental rights, doctors had sought relief for staying the effect and operation of the impugned notice for the current academic year and/ or till the pendency of the writ.
The petition also sought issuance of directions to the Department to provide the basis on which the 40 per cent reservation was arrived at and to commence the State Counselling without the reservation provided in the impugned notice.
Doctors had also requested that the Department be directed to forego the adoption of the 40 per cent reservation and instead provide an incentive of 10 per cent of the marks earned for each year in service in remote locations, up to a maximum of 30 per cent of the marks earned.