JAMMU, Apr 27: In a landmark judgment, High Court has held that NRHM doctors are eligible for the benefits of Regulation 9 of MCI Regulations 2000 which provides that a doctor who served in difficult and remote areas shall be entitled to 10%additional marks for each completed year of service.
This judgment was passed by Justice Janak Raj Kotwal in a petition filed by Shahnawaz Ahmed Choudhary and others who have qualified National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test, 2017 for admission to the Post Graduate Medical Courses conducted in terms of Regulation 9 of the Medical Council of India Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000.
Advocate Abhinav Sharma appearing for the petitioners submitted that by virtue of these Regulations, which have been framed by the Medical Council of India (MCI) in exercise of powers under Section 33 read with Section 20 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, the MCI has inter alia laid down the eligibility criteria and procedure for admission to the Post Graduate Medical courses— MD, MS and PG Diploma and MDS.
The procedure for selection of candidates for admission to the Post Graduation courses all over the country is provided under Regulation 9. The proviso added after Sub-Clause IV of Regulation 9 by virtue of Notification No. MCI-18(1)/2010-Mad/62052 dated 15.02.2012 provides for incentive marks to in-service candidates for remote or/and difficult area service.
“In determining the merit of candidates who are in-service of Government/public authority, weightage in the marks may be given by the Government/ Competent Authority as an incentive at the rate of 10% of the marks obtained for each year of service in remote and/or difficult areas up to the maximum of 30% of the marks obtained in National Eligibility- cum Entrance Test. The remote and difficult areas shall be as defined by State Government/ Competent authority from time to time”, reads the Regulation.
After hearing Advocate Abhinav Sharma appearing for the petitioners whereas Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal Ganai assisted by Deputy AG Ashish Singh Kotwal appearing for the State, Justice Kotwal observed, “the Government has conveyed to the Public Service Commission that the Doctors working (on contract) under NRHM in the State shall be treated as in-service candidates for the purpose of age relaxation for recruitment to the post of Medical Officer, provided they subsist in contractual appointment as on the date of issue of the Advertisement by the selection agencies”.
“It is thus evident that the Government in principle has taken a clear executive decision that the doctors engaged on contract basis under NRHM shall be treated as in-service candidates for giving them benefit under SRO 401 of 2009 for admission to Post Graduate Medical courses as also for the purpose of age relaxation for recruitment to the post of Medical Officer in the Government service”, High Court said.
“In the face of the clear decision and the benefit in terms of SRO 401 having been given to the doctors engaged under NRHM in the current admission process also, respondents cannot be heard saying that such a benefit is not available under the MCI Regulations”, Justice Kotwal said, adding “such a stand rather is ridiculous and self contradictory and is liable to be rejected on this score only and there would be no justification in depriving the doctors engaged under NRHM of the benefit of incentive marks by not treating them as in-service candidates for that limited purpose”.
With these observations, Justice Kotwal allowed the petition to the extent of petitioners 1 to 11 and quashed para 8.e.(5) and para 11 of the Information Brochure issued by the BOPEE, Notification No. 08/BOPEE of 2017 dated 25.02.2017, Notification No. 10/BOPEE of 2017 dated 03.03.2017 and the Public Notice No. 01/BOPEE of 2017 dated 25.02.2017 issued by the BOPEE.
High Court directed BOPEE to award incentive marks in terms of the MCI Regulations to all the candidates, who have been found entitled to benefit in terms of SRO 401 of 2009, including the petitioners 1 to 11 and to immediately re-draw the State Merit List so that admission process is completed within stipulated period.