DR N KARTHIKEYAN & OTHERS V. STATE OF TAMILNADU & OTHERS

COURT: The Supreme Court of India

CORAM: Hon’ble Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Hon’ble Justice B.R. Gavai

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 16 March 2022

FACTS

The current writ petition challenged a government order dated November 7, 2020, issued by the Tamil Nadu Government’s Health and Family Welfare Department, which provided for the reservation of 50% Super Specialty seats (Doctorate of Medicine / Master of Chirurgiae) for in-service candidates in Government Medical Colleges in the state. The Supreme Court vide an interim order dated November 27, 2020 stated that Counseling for admission to Super Specialty Medical Courses for the academic year 2020-21 will be conducted without reservations for in-service doctors. In this case, the writ petitioners and appellants argued that the Court should keep the aforementioned interim order in place for the academic year 2021-22.

ISSUES RAISED

Whether the government order dated November 7, 2020 was valid under 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India?

Whether the interim injunction by the Supreme Court should be continued for the academic year 2021-22?

JUDGEMENT

The Honourable Bench noted that in issuing the interim order on November 27, 2020, the court took into account the fact that the government order was issued on November 7, which was after the admission process had started. The goal was to ensure that rules were not modified once the admissions process had begun. It was made clear that the court had not given a judgement on the legality of the Government Order in question. It was also emphasised that the directive will only be in effect for the academic year 2020-21. Undoubtedly, the stated directive was notified prior to the start of the admission procedure for the said courses for the academic year 2021-22.

The minimal qualifying marks for general category applicants were 45 percent in the case of Dr. Preeti Srivastava v. State of M.P. & ors. However, for candidates in the reserved category, the requirement was reduced to 20%. In this context, it was believed that it would be difficult for reserved category applicants to achieve parity with general category candidates during their postgraduate studies. As a result, it was not possible to lower the qualifying standards for reserved category applicants, resulting in a significant gap in qualifying marks between a general category candidate and a reserved category candidate.

In the case of Dr. Preeti Srivastava v. State of M.P., the Court for medan opinion that the subject of whether a reservation or a distinct route for admission can be offered to in-service candidates did not fall for consideration. The facts in this case were considerably more similar to the facts in Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association v. Union of India & ors. The Bench for made prima facie found that the facts in Dr. Preeti Srivastava v. State of M.P. & ors were not the same as those in the current case.

As a result, the Bench was guided by the judgement of the Constitution Bench in the case of Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association v. Union of India rather than the judgement in the case of Dr. Preeti Srivastava v. State of M.P & Ors, taking into account the principles of judicial discipline and judicial propriety. It was decided that maintaining interim protection, which had been granted for the academic year 2020- 21, was pointless, and the petition was dismissed.

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