SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation

Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Tanvi Behl vs Shrey Goel on 9 December, 2019

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9289 OF 2019
(Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 12918 of 2019)

DR. TANVI BEHL ….APPELLANT(S)
VS

SHREY GOEL ORS. ….RESPONDENT(S)

WITH
(Civil Appeal No.9290 of 2019 @ SLP(C) No. 11441 of 2019, Civil Appeal
No.9291 of 2019 @ SLP(C) No. 11477 of 2019 and Civil Appeal Nos.9292-
9293 of 2019 @ SLP(C) Nos. 12919-20 of 2019

ORDER

Dinesh Maheshwari, J.

Preliminary

1. Leave granted.

2. These four appeals by special leave, directed against the common

judgment and order dated 23.04.2019, as passed by the High Court of Punjab

and Haryana at Chandigarh in CWP No. 8234 of 2019 (OM) and CWP No.
Signature Not Verified

9565 of 2019 (OM) and involving essentially the same questions relating to
Digitally signed by
CHARANJEET KAUR
Date: 2019.12.09
16:37:31 IST
Reason:

the legality and validity of domicile/residence-based reservation for admission

1
to the Post Graduate Medical Courses (MD/MS Courses 2019) 1 in

Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh 2, have been

considered together and shall be governed by this common order.3

3. By the impugned judgment and order dated 23.04.2019, the High Court

of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh has held invalid the provisions made by

the said Medical College in its prospectus, so far relating to the

domicile/residence-based reservation as provided in UT4 Chandigarh Pool;

and has struck down the same while directing that all the admissions made on

the basis of such invalid reservation in the said Medical College be cancelled

and fresh admission process for admission to the PG Medical Courses for the

academic year 2019-20 be carried out on the basis of merit obtained by the

candidates in National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test. 5 Aggrieved, the

candidates whose admission to the PG Medical Courses were to be cancelled

as also the UT of Chandigarh and the said Medical College have preferred

these appeals.

1
Hereinafter also referred to as “the PG Medical Courses”
2
Hereinafter also referred to as “the Medical College”/ “the said Medical College”.
3
It may be noticed at the outset that the questioned reservation has been provided for the
‘candidates with background of Chandigarh’. The candidates eligible under this category are those

(i) who have studied for 5 years in Chandigarh; or (ii) whose parents have resided in Chandigarh for a
period of 5 years; or (iii) who are children of the persons who have held or are holding immovable
property in Chandigarh or who themselves have held or are holding such immovable property for a
period of 5 years. Having regard to the submissions made and the questions involved,
notwithstanding the subtle distinction in the two concepts of domicile and residence [as noted by this
Court in the case of Yogesh Bhardwaj v. State of U.P. and Ors.: (1990) 3 SCC 355], the
reservation/preference in question is referred herein as ‘domicile/residence-based reservation’.
4
‘Union Territory’ is abbreviated as ‘UT’
5
Hereinafter also referred to as ”NEET” / ”NEET- PG 2019”

2
The basic facts concerning the parties

4. Before dilating on the rival contentions and the issue involved,

appropriate it would be to make a brief reference to the factual aspects

concerning the parties before us.

4.1. The appellant in the appeal arising out of SLP(C) No. 12918 of 2019,

completed her graduation in the year 2014; got herself registered as a doctor

with the Punjab Medical Council on 04.08.2016; appeared for the NEET-PG

2019 for securing admission to a PG Medical Course; scored 410 marks and

was placed at 51533 in All India Rank. The appellant thereafter applied for

admission under UT Pool Quota as she was domiciled in Chandigarh since

2006. Pending adjudication of CWP No. 8234 of 2019 (OM) before the High

Court, the appellant was selected for admission to MD in Microbiology in the

first round of counselling held on 05.04.2019; paid the course fees amounting

to Rs. 33,420/-; and was waiting for her classes to begin from 01.05.2019.

With the impugned order dated 23.04.2019 her admission being in jeopardy,

she has preferred this appeal though she was not a party to the said writ

petition/s.

4.2. The appellants of SLP(C) No. 11441 of 2019, upon completing their

graduation, had appeared in the same NEET-PG 2019 conducted on

06.01.2019 and had secured 639 and 454 marks, thereby standing at 10910

and 40780 ranks respectively. The appellant No. 1 herein belongs to General

Category while the appellant No. 2 belongs to Schedule Caste Category.

These appellants had applied for admission in the said Medical College;

3
participated in the counselling sessions; were offered seats under the UT

Chandigarh Pool being higher in merit; were allotted their respective subjects;

and had paid the requisite fees. These appellants were respondent Nos. 11

and 5 respectively in CWP No. 8234 of 2019 (OM) before the High Court and

have preferred the appeal for their admission being in jeopardy in view of the

impugned order dated 23.04.2019.

4.3. The appellant of SLP(C) No. 12919-20 of 2019 completed her MBBS in

2016 and had been registered as a doctor with the Punjab Medical Board. She

too appeared in NEET-PG 2019 conducted on 06.01.2019 and stood at rank

2164 with a score of 770 marks. She participated in the counselling sessions

conducted thereafter; and was selected for the course of M.S. in General

Surgery under the All India Quota. Though the appellant had taken admission

in the said course but was listed at serial No. 8 in the UT Chandigarh Pool

Quota list and as such, was hopeful of getting allotted another course in that

Quota.

4.3.1. It is the case of the appellant that despite being selected in the first

round wherein she was allotted M.S. in General Surgery and while waiting for

the second round of counselling, the Medical College mandated that she

ought to surrender her seat of M.S. in General Surgery before appearing in

the second round of counselling under the UT Chandigarh Pool Quota though

such surrendering of the seat was not mandated in relation to the other

candidates. Nevertheless, the appellant secured a seat in M.S. in Obstetrics

and Gynaecology in UT Chandigarh Pool Quota and duly paid her fees on

4
05.04.2019. Subsequently, with passing of the order impugned, the admission

of this appellant was also in jeopardy and hence she, though not a party to the

said writ petition/s, has preferred this appeal.

4.4. The appellants of the appeal arising out of SLP(C) No. 11477 of 2019

are the Union Territory of Chandigarh and the said Government Medical

College and Hospital, Chandigarh, whose proposition for domicile/residence-

based reservation in UT Chandigarh Pool has been pronounced against by

the High Court.

4.5. Therefore, all the appellants herein are aggrieved of the impugned order

dated 23.04.2019 and have questioned the same on more or less similar

grounds.

5. On the other hand, the contesting respondents of these appeals had

been the writ petitioners before the High Court questioning the

domicile/residence-based reservation. They have supported the impugned

order on identical submissions.

6. It may be noticed that the Medical Council of India was not a party to

this litigation before the High Court but was ordered to be impleaded in these

proceedings by the order dated 06.05.2019. Further, on 09.05.2019, this Court

allowed the appellants to implead the already admitted students (academic

session 2019-20) as parties; and granted ad-interim stay over the impugned

order of the High Court while making it clear that the admission process which

was completed on the basis of the stated provisions governing

5
domicile/residence-based reservation shall be subject to the outcome of these

matters.

The question involved and the background aspects

7. The principal question calling for determination in these matters is as to

whether providing for domicile/residence-based reservation in admission to

PG Medical Courses is constitutionally invalid and is impermissible? If answer

to this question is in the negative and it is held that such reservation is not

impermissible, the corollary questions would be as to the mode and modalities

for providing such reservation in the respective States/ Union Territories; and

more particularly, in relation to the State or Union Territory having only one

medical college. The background in which these questions have arisen could

be noticed as infra.

Academic year 2018-19 – decision in Dr. Chahat Bhatia’s case

8. For the academic year 2018-19, the Government Medical College and

Hospital, Chandigarh had issued a prospectus for its PG Medical Courses

while stating that 125 seats were available with the institution in the said PG

Medical Courses of which, 50% i.e., 63 seats were allocated to All India Quota

whereas the remaining 62 seats were meant for the students who had passed

MBBS examination from the medical institutions of UT Chandigarh. 6 This

prescription of ‘institutional preference’ was challenged by way of a writ

petition before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, being CWP No. 8962

6
Out of these, 15% seats remain reserved for the Scheduled Caste candidates. The seats remaining
after such reservation are referred as open seats and the discussion herein essentially relates to such
open seats.

6
of 2018: Dr. Chahat Bhatia v. Government Medical College and Hospital,

Sector 32, Chandigarh and Ors. The High Court, by way of its interim order

dated 07.05.2018, stayed the application of the Clause relating to ‘institutional

preference’. Assailing the said stay order, SLP (C) No. 12593 of 2018 was

filed by the Medical College wherein this Court, by the order dated

10.05.2018, directed the High Court to dispose of the matter on priority and

also directed that the candidates who had secured admissions shall not be

displaced, subject to the final decision in the matter. Subsequently, the High

Court, by its order dated 15.05.2018, held that while calculating institutional

preference, the seats reserved under All India Quota ought to be excluded.

The question of reservation on the basis of ‘domicile’ was never challenged

and, therefore, the High Court did not deal with the said issue.

8.1. The High Court, in its order dated 15.05.2018 noted that there was only

one medical institution located within the territory of Chandigarh leading to the

position that all the seats, after deducting the reserved ones, would be filled

up from the candidates passing their MBBS examination from the said Medical

College, thereby depriving all other candidates from the region of an

opportunity of admission to the PG Medical Courses at Chandigarh. It was

contended that the proposition of the Medical College amounted to 100%

reservation on institutional preference which was impermissible in terms of the

settled decisions of this Court. In view of the contentions urged, the Court

noted the two issues calling for determination as under:-

“i) Whether in the wake of the condition imposed in the
prospectus coupled with the fact of a singular institute in the

7
territorial boundary of UT Chandigarh preference contemplated
in the prospectus would tantamount to 100% reservation in
favour of the incumbents having completed their MBBS course
from Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32,
Chandigarh or not.

ii) Whether the candidates who have done their schooling in
Chandigarh or are connected to the City of Chandigarh would
need to be treated preferentially or not.”
8.2. After having thus noted the issues involved, the High Court put aside

the second issue with the following observations:-

“In so far as the second issue is concerned, it need not
engage our attention for a longer period considering it has been
settled by the various pronouncements of the Hon’ble Supreme
Court deprecating preference or weightage on the basis of
residence alone. So, the surviving issue is the one that we have
set out at (i) above.”
8.3. After the aforesaid observations, the High Court noted that the concept

of institutional preference was standing on firm pedestal with various

pronouncements of this Court; and, particularly with reference to the

Constitution Bench decision in Saurabh Chaudri and Ors. v. Union of India

and Ors.: 2013 (11) SCC 146, observed that it was not difficult to conclude

that the institutional preference would be a valid criterion but then, its extent

could be irksome and bad in law. The High Court also referred to the

provisions made in regulation 9(IV) and 9A of the Post-Graduate Medical

Education Regulations, 2000 prescribed by the Medical Council of India as

also the institutional preference provided by different States like the State of

Punjab and the State of Haryana. Thereafter, the High Court expressed its

disapproval of the allocation of seats as provided by the UT Chandigarh and

the Medical College while observing as under:-

8

“To our mind, if we see the break-up of seats, 63 out of 125
seats, being 50% would be consumed in the All India Quota
leaving the residue of 62, which, if the prescribed criteria of the
prospectus is applied, would leave no seat for any other
aspirant.

The learned Senior Standing Counsel for UT, Chandigarh
would be quick to respond to refer to clauses PG-8 and PG-8.1
to contend that there is a procedure prescribed to fill the left over
seats where the candidates who have studied in Chandigarh for
a period of 5 years or the children of persons who have resided
in Union Territory of Chandigarh for a period of at least 5 years
or the children of persons who have held immovable property in
UT Chandigarh for a period of 5 years at any time prior to the
last date of the submission of the application, would be
considered.

This in itself would make no significant impact to the primary
question that we are dealing with i.e. there being 100%
institutional preference. In fact, the mischief seems to have been
done not in prescribing the conditions of preference but by
placing an interpretation on the calculation for institutional
preference by taking into account the seats. The prospectus
states that 50% of total number of seats have been reserved for
institutional preference for students of medical institution of UT
Chandigarh. “Total number of seats” taken for this determination
of institutional preference seats is 125, which according to us,
would be erroneous for the simple reason that out of 125 seats
allocated to the UT pool 50% i.e. 63 seats would be propelled
out of orbit of the UT Chandigarh pool the moment they are
consumed in the All India Quota leaving only 62 seats for the
College to be filled up. Therefore, total number of seats for the
institutional preference are the residual ones that fall to the
institution after All India Quota is consumed. Thus the
interpretation placed by the Chandigarh Administration would
virtually discard from the process of consideration other
aspirants who may, being from the region be higher up in merit
but would stand excluded.

To avoid merit being a casuality it would be in the fairness of
things that 50% institutional preference be restricted to 62 seats
falling to the share of the institution after the remaining 50%
have been consumed in the All India quota.”
8.4. Interestingly, the High Court, even though made a cursory observation in

the earlier part of the order that the second issue as regards preferential

treatment to the candidate having connectivity with the city of Chandigarh

9
need not be dilated, for this Court having not approved the preference or

weightage on the basis of residence alone but then, proceeded to observe in

the later part of the order that the linkage of the candidate to Chandigarh was

not questioned and hence, would not invite any comment from the Court. With

these observations, the High Court concluded and held as follows:-

“Nobody has raised any question to Clauses PG-8 or PG-8.1
where the candidates having linkage to Chandigarh either
through education or placement of their parents or property, and
therefore, it need not invite any comment from us. Suffice it to
say that the interpretation of institutional preference with its
applicability of total number of seats which are 125 has resulted
in a situation that reeks of arbitrariness and a resultant violation
of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. We would thus hold the
stand of the UT Chandigarh erroneous in this regard. While
upholding the principal of institutional preference we would direct
that it would relate to 50% of the seats available to the institution
after 50% of All India Quota has been consumed and upon such
calculation throw open the seats to other deserving aspirants.

Issues have been raised about individual candidates and
their eligibility, but we are of the opinion that these are matters to
be left to the Committee in-charge of Counselling to examine.

In view of the above, we direct the Government Medical
College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh to conduct the
counselling afresh by keeping in view the above.”
8.5. Aggrieved by the order aforesaid, a petition for Special Leave to Appeal,

being SLP (C) No. 13562 of 2018, was filed in this Court but the same was

dismissed in limine on 24.05.2018.

Academic year 2019-20

9. The Medical College, following the aforesaid decision in the case of Dr.

Chahat Bhatia (supra), issued the prospectus on 16.03.2019 for admissions to

the PG Medical Courses for the academic year 2019-20 stating that the total

number of seats were 128, which were equally divided into All India Quota and

10
State Quota, as set out in Clause 1 and Clause 2 of the prospectus. More

specific to the case at hand, Clause 2 explained that the State Quota was

further divided in Clause 2A (Institutional Preference Pool) and Clause 2B (UT

Chandigarh Pool). This Clause 2B is the bone of contention herein. For ready

reference, the entire Clause 2 pertaining to the State Quota seats may be

reproduced as under:-

“ 2. State Quota: 64 seats. In compliance of the decision of
Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court, distribution of 50%
State Quota seats are as below:-

Category Total No. Reserved General
of seats (SC) 15%
1. Institutional 32 5 27
Preference
Pool (IP)
2. UT, 32 5 27
Chandigarh
Pool
Total 64 10 54

A. Institutional Preference Pool (IP): Candidates who have
passed their MBBS examination from Govt. Medical
College Hospital Chandigarh
B. UT Chandigarh Pool: Candidate who fulfil eligibility criteria
as below: This category will include candidates with
background of Chandigarh. To be eligible for this category
candidate should fulfil any of the following criteria:-

i. Studied for a period of 5 years in the Union
Territory of Chandigarh at any time prior to the
last date of the submission of the application.
ii. Candidates whose parents have resided in
Union Territory of Chandigarh for a period of at
least 5 years at any time prior to the last date
of the submission of the application either in
pursuit of a profession or holding a job.

iii. Children of persons who have held/hold
immovable property in Union Territory of
Chandigarh for a period of five years at any
time prior to the last date of the submission of

11
the application. The property should be in the
name of the parents or the candidate
himself/herself.

Important Note:

a) To be eligible for UT Chandigarh Pool under B(i), the
candidate must submit a certificate to the effect from
Principal of School/College located within the territory of
UT Chandigarh.

b) To be eligible under B (ii), the candidate should submit a
certificate issued by the D.C of UT Chandigarh to the
effect that the candidate or his parents have been
residing/have resided in Chandigarh at least for 5 years.

c) To be eligible under B (iii), the candidate must submit a
certificate issued by D.C-cum-Estate Officer/Tehsildar
stating that the candidate/parents of the candidate have
held/are holding immovable property in UT Chandigarh for
at least for 5 years prior to the submission of application.”

Challenge before the High Court–the impugned order dated 23.04.2019

10. The private respondents (writ petitioners) challenged the legality and

validity of the aforesaid Clause 2B of the prospectus in CWP No. 8234 of

2019 (O M): Shrey Goel and Ors v. Union Territory of Chandigarh and

Anr. before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. Pending disposal of this

petition, another writ petition, being CWP No. 9565 of 2019 (O M): Shweta

Sandhu and Ors v. Union Territory of Chandigarh and Anr. was filed on

05.04.2019 by other candidates with similar challenge to the said Clause 2B of

the prospectus. Besides this, similarly aggrieved candidates filed various

impleading applications in the said petitions. By way of its order dated

12.04.2019, the High Court allowed such applications and the applicants were

impleaded as respondent Nos. 13 to 22 to the said petitions.

12
10.1. The said writ petitions were tagged together and the High Court, by its

common order dated 23.04.2019, struck down the impugned Clauses of the

prospectus issued by the Medical College. The High Court took note of the

issue involved in the matter as follows:-

“The short question that has been posed before us is whether
the above extracted clause of the prospectus inasmuch as it
gives primacy and emphasis to a person’s residence and
association with a city to grant a concession in merit, is in direct
conflict with the various decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme
Court such as Dr. Pradeep Jain etc. etc. vs. Union of India
and others reported as 1984 AIR (SC) 1420 and Saurabh
Chaudri and others v. Union of India and others reported as
(2003) 11 SCC 146 , or not?”

10.2. The High Court reproduced some of the observations made by this

Court in the referred decisions including those in Dr. Pradeep Jain and Ors.

v. Union of India and Ors.: (1984) 3 SCC 654 and those occurring in

paragraphs 29 to 32 of the Constitution Bench decision in Saurabh Chaudri

(supra) as also the fact that only the question of institutional preference was

decided in Dr. Chahat Bhatia (supra) and the question of domicile/residence-

based reservation was not gone into. The High Court, thereafter, proceeded to

consider the three stipulations occurring in the impugned Clause 2B of the

prospectus (as noticed above) and disapproved the same while observing as

under:-

“To test the rationale, we would pick up all the three
stipulations one by one.

If we look at stipulation (a) that a person ought to have
studied for 5 years in UT, Chandigarh at any point of time prior
to the last date of submission of the application then it is
capable of following two interpretations:

13

(i) That if a preference in this category is given it will
increase the reservation for institutional preference. One has to
be mindful of the fact that we are dealing with admission to Post
Graduate courses and if there is a student who has studied 5
years in UT, Chandigarh at any time prior to the last date of
submission of the application, it will certainly lean in favour of
those who have studied for their MBBS degree in UT,
Chandigarh. Since there is only one college in Chandigarh, the
benefit flowing from such a clause would merge with that of the
institutional preference, thereby upsetting the balance provided
by a 50% cap intended for Institutional Preference. This clause
is, therefore, fraught with inherent dangers.

Second situation would be that a candidate might have
studied for 5 years in UT, Chandigarh at any time prior to the
last date of the submission of the application which would also
mean studying from Kindergarden to Class V or for any other
period for that purpose. This would hardly provide any rationale
to the logic of claiming a seat for a post graduate course under
the UT, Chandigarh pool.

Similarly, clause (b) reads an entitlement for those whose
parents have resided in UT, Chandigarh for a period of 5 years
at any point of time prior to the last date of submission of the
application either in pursuit of a profession or in holding a job.
This too does not offer any rationale to convert it into a
preference for the simple reason that a person may have
settled down in Chandigarh briefly for a period of 5 years and
then departed. The absurdity of this stands out if we visualize a
situation, of a person having come to Chandigarh possibly at
the time when it was coming up in the 1950s and departed after
spending 5 years only to return after a lapse of more than 60
years and claim a preference since he had spent 5 years in
Chandigarh at some time and fulfills the condition of being a
resident of this town “at any time prior to the last date of
submission of the application.”
Likewise, clause (c ) also offers a similarly absurd situation
of there being a case where a person has invested in property,
may be at any point of time but choosing to give it up, and yet
fulfilling the clause of owning a property for a period of 5 years
at any time prior to the last of submission of the application.”

10.3. Thereafter, the High Court, with reference to the aforesaid

decisions in Saurabh Chaudri’s case and Dr. Pradeep Jain’s case, observed

that there existed no nexus of the impugned stipulations with the object

14
sought to be achieved i.e., making reservations on the basis of residence;

and such a reservation has to be objected to, for admission to the PG

Medical Courses should be only on the basis of merit. The High Court held

and concluded as under:-

“We would, therefore, conclude that in the matters of
admission to Post Graduate courses such a
reservation/preference which has its foundations in a long
discarded principle i.e. domicile would be unsustainable.
Besides, all the clauses that have been introduced in the
brochure and discussed to describe a candidate with
background of Chandigarh would be unsustainable in law as
they have no rationale to the objects sought to be achieved
even if we have to assume that such a preference was
permissible in law.

We, therefore, strike down clause 2 (a), (b) and (c) of UT,
Chandigarh Pool as being invalid and unsustainable in law. All
admissions made by placing reliance on the above would as a
logical corollary be also unsustainable. The only course
available to the college is to fill up the seats through merit
position obtained by candidates in NEET examinations.”

The submissions:

11. The learned counsel appearing for the appellants have made more or

less similar nature submissions in support of their challenge to the order

impugned that have been countered by the learned counsel appearing for the

contesting respondents. The learned counsel appearing for the Medical

Council of India has also made elaborate submissions as regards the scheme

of examination and the admissions in question as also in response to various

queries of this Court. We may briefly take note of the varying submissions and

contentions so urged.

15
11.1. The substance of submissions on behalf of the private appellants, the

candidates who had secured admission in the respective branches of PG

Medical Courses in the said Medical College, has been that the High Court

has erroneously held the domicile/residence-based reservation to be

impermissible for admission to the PG Medical Courses. The learned counsel

appearing for the respective appellants have argued that even when a three-

Judge Bench of this Court in the case of Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra) expressed

its disapproval of domicile/residence-based reservation for admission to PG

Medical Courses, the Constitution Bench of this Court in Saurabh Chaudri

(supra) has not disapproved such domicile/residence-based reservation. The

learned counsel have particularly referred to paragraphs 29 to 32 of the

decision in Saurabh Chaudri (supra) in support of their contentions and have

also urged that in paragraphs 38 to 70 in Saurabh Chaudri’s case, the

Constitution Bench has only considered the constitutional validity of

institutional preference and in that context, the law laid down in Dr. Pradeep

Jain was upheld but the said decision in Saurabh Chaudri cannot be relied

upon for disapproval of domicile/residence-based preference for admission to

the PG Medical Courses; and there is no constitutional bar over providing

such a preference. It has further been contended that the criteria as laid down

by UT Chandigarh and its Medical College cannot be said to be offending the

principle of equality; and the High Court has seriously erred in treating the

same to be arbitrary and unlawful. It has also been contended on behalf of

these appellants that in any case, the High Court could not have set aside the

16
admissions that had been made for the academic year 2019-20, particularly

when counselling of the candidates had been completed and in fact, there was

no specific prayer for setting aside the admissions already given. In the

alternative part of submissions, it has also been contended in the appeal

arising out of SLP(C) No. 1141 of 2019 that this aspect of reservation on

the basis of domicile/residence for admission to PG Medical Courses is

required to be reconsidered and decided by a Larger Bench of this Court.

11.2. On behalf of the other appellants-UT Chandigarh and the Medical

College, the learned senior counsel has also extensively referred to various

decisions of this Court as also the decision of the High Court in Dr. Chahat

Bhatia (supra) and has submitted that until the academic year 2018-2019,

these appellants were filling up the total number of Post-graduate seats

available in the UT by dividing them in two parts: 50% of the total number of

seats for All India Quota and remaining 50% by way of institutional preference

from amongst the students who had passed out from the appellant-Medical

College. However, this process was challenged and the High Court, in its

decision in Dr. Chahat Bhatia (supra) ruled that institutional preference would

remain restricted to 50% of the State Quota seats 7. According to the learned

counsel, in the wake of the decision in Dr. Chahat Bhatia and the fact that UT

Chandigarh has only one medical college, the position obtainable had been

that the UT Administration could have kept only 32 seats (50% of 64 number

of State Quota seats) reserved to be filled up by way of institutional

7
This would effectively mean 25% of total open seats being allowed for institution preference – being
50% of the 50% State Quota seats.

17
preference. In this scenario, according to the learned counsel, provision was

required to be made for the remaining 50% of State Quota seats allotted to UT

Chandigarh and for this purpose, the UT had to identify such students by

providing some criteria. Thus, according to the learned counsel, such criteria

for filling up the remaining State Quota seats came to be reflected in Clause

2B of the prospectus; and the criteria so provided by the appellants are neither

invalid nor suffer from any illegality, so as to be struck down.

11.2.1. The learned senior counsel has further referred to the fact that in the

scheme of examination and admission to the PG Medical Courses, the State

Quota seats are to be filled up by the respective States by following their

respective qualifying criteria and guidelines; and has referred to Clauses 13.2

and 14.9 of the Information Bulletin issued by the National Board of

Examination that conducts the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test.8 Thus,

according to the learned counsel, domicile/residence-based preference for

State Quota seats is recognised by the National Board of Examination too.

The learned counsel has reiterated the submission that in Saurabh Chaudri’s
8
The said clauses read as under:-

13.2 For States/Union Territories – 50% State Quota Seats and Private Medical
Colleges/Institutes/Universities/Deemed Universities:

a) Reservation policy and guidelines applicable in different States/Union Territories of
India will be followed for the respective State/Union territory quota seats.

b) NBE shall be providing only the data of candidates and the marks scored by them
in NEET-PG to the State Governments/Counselling Authority without applying the reservation
prevalent in the concerned States/Private Medical Colleges/Institutes/Universities. The merit
list and category wise merit list for the concerned State shall be generated by the State
themselves as per the applicable Regulations, qualifying criteria, applicable guidelines and
reservation policies.

Clause 14.9: RESULT FOR STATE QUOTA SEAT:

e) Candidates must verify from the respective State Government/UTs if at all they will
be considered for admission to State Quota Post Graduate seats/Institute Pool based on
applicable Regulation and/or domicile criteria, State/Institute of Graduation, reservation
policy etc. Merely appearing/passing in NEET-PG 2019 does not make a candidate qualified
and/or eligible for State Quota Seats/admission to Private Universities Institutes.

(emphasis supplied)

18
case, the Constitution Bench has not ruled against the domicile/residence-

based reservation for admission to the PG Medical Courses.

11.2.2. The learned counsel has also referred to the provisions made by

various other States and Union Territories for the purpose of filling up the

State Quota seats; and has pointed out that not only the UT Chandigarh but

several other States and Union Territories have made similar provisions on

domicile/residence-based preference for filling up such 50% State Quota

seats in PG Medical Courses.9
9
The summary of procedure followed for PG Admissions in different States/UTs, as placed
before us by the counsel for the appellants makes out that in all such admissions, 50% seats are
provided for All India Quota but as regards 50% of State Quota seats, different provisions have been
made by different States/Union Territories. These aspects are duly corroborated in the summary of
such admission processes in different States/UTs, as placed before us by the learned counsel for the
Medical Council of India. The provisions in relation to some of the States/UTs are stated as under:-

StateReservationsHARYANA
2019-STATE 50% Quota
 20% -Institutional preference.

 5% of annual sanctioned intake CAPACITY –Persons with Disabilities.

 Open Merit* (left over seats)
Eligibility Criteria:
-Passed MBBS/BDS from any recognised Medical Institution in Haryana as a resident of Haryana.

– Passed MBBS/BDS from any recognised Medical Institution in India who’s Parents produce a Haryana
Resident Certificate.PUNJAB
2018STATE 50% Quota through Baba Farid University Of Health Science (BFUHS)
50% -Institutional PreferenceANDHRA PRADESH
2019-2020-STATE 50% Quota
 85% seats in favour of Local Candidates in relation to local areas.
 15% seats for residents of 10 yrs/parents employed in Govt. jobs in State/ if spouses of
candidates are in Govt. jobs in the state/employed in quasi-public institutions.

-50% of seats in Private Institutions are under competent authority.MAHARASHTRA
2019-STATE 50% QUOTA

– Domicile candidates of State who have got admission to MBBS through 15% AIQ can apply for
admission state quota seats.

-50% of seats in Private Institutions are under State CET cell quota/rest 50% are through institutional
preference.BIHAR 2018-STATE 50% Quota

– Domicile candidates of State who have got admission to MBBS through exam conducted by AIQ/ Govt.
of Bihar before bifurcation of state can apply for admission in state quota seats.

– Candidate who is not a permanent resident of Bihar but has passed MBBS from any Medical college in
Bihar.

– Reservation of 50% of total seats for SC/ST/EBC/BC/RCG/DQ permanent residents of
BiharKARNATAKA 2019-STATE 50% Quota
Eligibility Criteria:

-Cleared MBBS/BDS from an Institution in State of Karnataka

-Cleared MBBS/BDS from an Institution in India and studied for minimum 10 academic years in
Karnataka and must have completed his/her Higher Secondary from Karnataka. RAJASTHAN 2019-STATE 50%
Quota

-25% Reserved for Institutional Preference

-25% Reserved for candidates who have cleared MBBS from medical institutes of RajasthanUTTAR
PRADESH, 2019-STATE 50% Quota

-Seats Reserved for candidates who have cleared MBBS from medical institutes of UP.

19

12. Per contra, learned senior counsel for private respondents (the writ

petitioners) has extensively referred to the aforesaid decision of this Court in

Dr. Pradeep Jain and Saurabh Chaudri and has further relied upon the

decisions in Jagdish Saran v. Union of India: (1980) 2 SCC 768; Magan

Mehrotra v. UOI :(2003) 11 SCC 186; Nikhil Himthani Ors. v. State of

Uttarakhand Ors.: (2013) 10 SCC 237; Vishal Goyal Ors. v. State of

Karnataka Ors.: (2014) 11 SCC 456; Dr. Kriti Lakhina v. State of

Karnataka: 2018 SCC online SC 324; and Satyabrata Sahoo Ors. v.

State of Orissa :(2012) 8 SCC 203. The learned counsel would submit that

in accord with the said decisions, these respondents, having passed their

M.B.B.S. course and having applied under ‘institutional quota’, are entitled for

admission to the PG Medical Courses under the said quota of institutional

-Domicile candidates of State who have got admission to MBBS colleges outside UP through AIQ can
apply for admission in state quota seats.

. PUDUCHERRY, 2019-2020-STATE 50% Quota

-All Govt. Quota Seats reserved for residents of Puducherry.DELHI, 2019-STATE 50% Quota
 50% seats allotted to Faculty of Medical Science, Delhi University.
 50% seats allotted to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.

GOA, 2019-STATE 50% Quota (only one university)(Press Note)KERALA, 2019-STATE 50% Quota
 383 seats in P.G. Degree courses
 79 seats in PG Diploma Courses in the Government Medical Colleges
 8 Seats for PG Degree at RCC, Trivandrum

-Eligibility:

 Academic : Applicants must have MBBS degree recognized by MCI
 Nativity: Applicants should have satisfied any of the following conditions:

– Indian Citizens of Kerala origin.

– Candidates who are sons/daughters of Non-Keralite parents, who have obtained MBBS Degree from
any of the Medical Colleges in the State of Kerala.TELENGANA, 2019-STATE 50% Quota
 85% seats in favour of Local Candidates in relation to local areas. (as provided in the Andhra
Pradesh Educational Institution Order, 1974 as amended from time to time)
The Non local candidates do not have any reservations. The Nonlocal candidates are eligible for 15%
unreserved seats only. The local candidates are also eligible for 15% unreserved seats.WEST BENGAL, 2019-

STATE 50% Quota or Open Category candidates
 Passed MBBS/BDS from WB.

Permanent Resident of WBJHARKHAND 2019-STATE 50% Quota

– Domicile candidates of State who have got admission to MBBS through exam conducted by AIQ/ Govt.
of Bihar before bifurcation of state in 2000 can apply for admission in state quota seats.

– Candidate who have passed MBBS from any Medical college/University in Jharkhand.

20
preference but are deprived of the same because of the impugned

domicile/residence-based reservation provided by the Medical College. He

has also contended that the issue involved in the present matters is no more

res integra as the reservation in PG Medical Courses on the basis of place of

birth and/or residence/domicile has been disapproved, being violative of

Article 14 of the Constitution of India; and that admission to specialised

courses should be on the basis of merit alone. The learned senior counsel has

further submitted that in the order impugned, the High Court has rightly

observed that there is no nexus of the classification prescribed with the

objective sought to be achieved i.e., allotting 50% of State Quota seats. The

learned counsel would submit that in relation to the issue concerning

‘admission on the basis of domicile’, the High Court has observed in Dr.

Chahat Bhatia that the practice has been repeatedly disapproved; and the

said decision has attained finality. Thus, according to the learned counsel,

domicile/residence-based reservation has rightly been disapproved in the

order impugned.

13. The learned counsel for the Medical Council of India has also made

extensive reference to the aforesaid decisions, including those in Dr. Pradeep

Jain and Saurabh Chaudri and has submitted that, for the law settled by this

Court in Saurabh Chaudri, 50% seats of the total seats in the PG Medical

Courses are All India Quota Seats and are to be filled up from the All India

Merit List. For these All India Seats, counselling is carried out by Directorate

General of Health Services and the balance 50% goes to the respective

21
States for which, counselling is carried out by the concerned State. According

to the learned counsel, these 50% State Quota seats cannot be filled up by

the State by imposing domicile/residential requirement, though the State may

prescribe institutional preference as the criteria for filling up these 50% State

Quota seats. Learned counsel has submitted that the impugned Clause 2B of

the prospectus is violative of the principle of equality enshrined under Article

14 of the Constitution and is also contrary to the various judicial

pronouncements of this Court and is, therefore, liable to be quashed.

13.1. The learned counsel has also placed on record a chart showing the

policy of 21 States in applying institutional preference/reservation along with

relevant portion of brochures/Information Bulletin published by the respective

States. The learned counsel has also submitted that as per the time schedule

framed by the Council with the prior approval of the Central Government as

well as approved by this Court in Ashish Ranjan v. UOI Ors.: (2016) 11

SCC 225, the date for commencement of academic year had been 01.05.2019

and the last date for completion of admission process for PG Medical Courses

had been 31.05.2019; and all admissions to PG Medical Courses had already

been completed for the current academic year 2019-20, which may not be

disturbed at this belated stage.

13.2. The learned counsel for Medical Council in the last submitted that if at

all the admissions are to be cancelled, manual counselling may be ordered

only in relation to those students who have not joined and taken admission in

22
any other college because any other proposition may upset the entire process

of studies in the respective PG Medical Courses.

14. At this juncture, relevant it would also be to notice that during the course

of hearing of these matters, it was pointed out by the learned counsel for

parties that the question as regards institutional preference had been referred

to a Larger Bench of this Court in the case of Yatinkumar Jasubhai Patel

and others v. State of Gujarat and others: SLP(C) No. 7003 of 2017. It

has, however, been brought to our notice that while decision remained

pending in these matters, the said referred case and connected matters were

decided by a three-Judge Bench of this Court on 04.10.2019 upholding the

institutional preference for admission to the PG Medical Courses. Having

regard to the question involved we would refer to the said decision at the

appropriate stage hereafter later.

Whether domicile/residence-based reservation is entirely impermissible?

15. As noticed, the core question calling for determination herein is as to

whether providing for domicile/residence-based reservation for admission to

PG Medical Courses is constitutionally invalid and is impermissible. Several

decisions of this Court have been referred by the learned counsel for the

respondents in support of the impugned order of the High Court and in support

of the contention that such a prescription is constitutionally invalid. In our

view, the submissions on invalidity of the domicile/residence based

reservation in relation to the State Quota seats and the assumption that such

a proposition is long back discarded (as per the expression employed by the

23
High Court) needs to be examined by a Larger Bench of this Court in view of

the significance of the issue, which is of recurrence in every academic year for

one reason or another; and particularly when varying views have been

expressed by different Benches, which need to be reconciled with the

observations made by the Constitution Bench of this Court in Saurabh

Chaudri’s case. We may, therefore, refer to the decision in Saurabh Chaudri in

requisite details.

16. It could be profitably noticed that before the pronouncement in Saurabh

Chaudri by the Constitution Bench, this Court had expressed desirability of

merit-based admissions to the Medical Courses; and multiple vistas of such

admission process were dealt with by this Court in several decisions like those

in Jagdish Saran, Dr. Pradeep Jain as also in Magan Mehrotra (supra). In fact,

reference to the Constitution Bench in Saurabh Chaudri’s case had been in

sequel to Magan Mehrotra’s case inasmuch as a three-Judge Bench of this

Court in Magan Mehrotra had held that apart from institutional preference, no

other preference including reservation on the basis of residence was

envisaged in view of the decision in Dr. Pradeep Jain. However, the

notification consequently issued by Delhi University for institutional preference

for admission to PG Medical Courses was questioned by the appellants

claiming themselves to be the residents of Delhi. In this challenge; a Division

Bench of this Court referred the matter to a three-Judge Bench having regard

to the decision in Magan Mehrotra; and the three-Judge Bench directed the

matter to be placed before a Bench of five Judges considering its importance.

24
In this backdrop, the Constitution Bench, dealing with the reference in

Saurabh Chaudri, indicated the two questions being determined by it in the

following:-

“2. The core question involved in these writ petitions and
appeal centres around the constitutional validity of reservation
whether based on domicile or institution in the matter of
admission into postgraduate courses in government-run
medical colleges.

*** *** ***

10. The question which was initially raised in the writ petition
was as to whether reservation made by way of institutional
preference is ultra vires Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of
India; but during hearing a larger issue viz. as to whether any
reservation, be it on residence or institutional preference, is
constitutionally permissible, was raised at the Bar.”

16.1. The first question, as to whether reservation on the basis of domicile is

impermissible, was answered and disposed of by the Constitution Bench in

the following passages:-

“29. The first question that arises for consideration is, whether
the reservation on the basis of domicile is impermissible in
terms of clause (1) of Article 15 of the Constitution of India .
The term “place of birth” occurs in clause (1) of Article 15 but
not “domicile”. If a comparison is made between Article 15(1)
and Article 16(2) of the Constitution of India, it would appear
that whereas the former refers to “place of birth” alone, the
latter refers to both “domicile” and “residence” apart from place
of birth. A distinction, therefore, has been made by the makers
of the Constitution themselves to the effect that the expression
“place of birth” is not synonymous to the expression “domicile”
and they reflect two different concepts. It may be true, as has
been pointed out by Shri Salve and pursued by Mr Nariman,
that both the expressions appeared to be synonymous to some
of the members of the Constituent Assembly but the same, in
our opinion, cannot be a guiding factor. In D.P. Joshi case a
Constitution Bench held so in no uncertain terms.

30. This Bench is bound by the said decision.

25

31. In State of U.P. v. Pradip Tandon this Court observed: (SCC
p. 277, para 29)
“29. The reservation for rural areas cannot be sustained
on the ground that the rural areas represent socially and
educationally backward classes of citizens. This
reservation appears to be made for the majority
population of the State. Eighty per cent of the population
of the State cannot be a homogeneous class. Poverty in
rural areas cannot be the basis of classification to
support reservation for rural areas. Poverty is found in
all parts of India. In the instructions for reservation of
seats it is provided that in the application form a
candidate for reserved seats from rural areas must
submit a certificate of the District Magistrate of the
district to which he belonged that he was born in rural
area and had a permanent home there, and is residing
there or that he was born in India and his parents and
guardians are still living there and earn their livelihood
there. The incident of birth in rural areas is made the
basic qualification. No reservation can be made on the
basis of place of birth, as this would offend Article 15.”

32. Answer to the said question must, therefore, be
rendered in the negative.”
(underlining supplied)

16.2. Thus, the answer by Constitution Bench to the question as to whether

domicile/residence-based reservation is impermissible had been in a crisp and

terse negative. In other words, the answer was in the affirmative on

permissibility. For comprehension of the basis of such answer by the

Constitution Bench, appropriate it would be to closely look at the two decisions

referred to in the aforesaid paragraphs 29 and 31 in Saurabh Chaudri.

16.3. In the case of State of U.P. v. Pradip Tandon10 (referred to in the

above-quoted paragraph 31 of Saurabh Chaudri), the question that arose for

consideration before the three-Judge Bench of this Court had been as to
10
(1975) 1 SCC 267

26
whether the instructions framed by the State of Uttar Pradesh in making

reservation in favour of the candidates from rural areas, hill areas and

Uttarakhand for admission to Medical Colleges were constitutionally valid.

This Court did not approve of the reservation for rural areas for the same had

been made only on the basis of the place of birth and hence, was offending

Article 15 of the Constitution. However, in the said decision, the reservation

made in favour of the people in hill areas and Uttarakhand area was upheld,

for the same having been made for the benefit of socially and educationally

backward classes of citizens, particularly when this Court found that the State

had established that the people in those areas were of socially and

educationally backward classes.

16.4. As noticed, in Saurabh Chaudri, after a short reference to the decision

in D.P.Joshi v. State of M.P.11 this Court reiterated that the concept of

“domicile” was not equivalent to the concept of “place of birth”; and the

prohibition contained in Article 15(1) of the Constitution of India relates to any

discrimination only on the basis of the “place of birth”. The said decision in

D.P.Joshi was rendered by a Constitution Bench of this Court in a writ petition

under Article 32 of the Constitution of India that was filed while questioning the

stipulation regarding capitation fees, as made by Mahatma Gandhi Medical

College at Indore, run by the State of Madhya Bharat. The petitioner, who was

a resident of Delhi and had been admitted as a student in the said Medical

College at Indore, was called upon to pay a sum of Rs. 1500/- per annum as

capitation fee in addition to the tuition fee and other charges payable by the
11
AIR 1955 SC 334

27
students of said college in general. The petitioner’s grievance had been that

such rules relating to the matter of fees, as in force in the college concerned,

were of discrimination between the students who were residents of Madhya

Bharat and those who were not, inasmuch as the residents of other States

were required to pay such capitation fee in addition to the tuition fee and

charges payable by all the students; and such a stipulation was offending

Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India. The Constitution Bench, by 4:1

majority, rejected such contentions while pointing out the significant distinction

in the concepts of “domicile/residence” and “place of birth” and after finding

nothing of discrimination in providing capitation fees on a particular class of

students and not others. The rule in question was taken note of as under:

“4. ….”For all students who are ‘bona fide residents’ of
Madhya Bharat no capitation fee should be charged. But for
other non- Madhya Bharat students the capitation fee should be
retained as at present at Rs. 1,300 for nominees and at Rs.
1,500 for others”.

…..

‘Bona fide resident’ for the purpose of this rule was defined as :
“one who is –

(a) a citizen of Indian whose original domicile is in Madhya
Bharat, provided he has not acquired a domicile elsewhere, or

(b) a citizen of India, whose original domicile is not in Madhya
Bharat but who has acquired a domicile in Madhya Bharat and
has resided there for not less than 5 years at the date, on which
he applies for admission, or

(c) a person who migrated from Pakistan before September 30,
1948 and intends to reside in Madhya Bharat permanently, or

(d) a person or class of persons or citizens of an area or
territory adjacent to Madhya Bharat or to India in respect of
whom or which a Declaration of Eligibility has been made by
the Madhya Bharat Government”.

28

16.4.1. After extracting Article 15(1) of the Constitution of India 12, the

Constitution Bench expounded on the difference in the concepts of

“domicile/residence” and “place of birth” in the following:-

“5….Residence and place of birth are two distinct conceptions
with different connotations both in law and in fact, and when
article 15(1) prohibits discrimination based on the place of birth,
it cannot be read as prohibiting discrimination based on
residence.”
The Court again said:

“6… whether the expression used is “domicile of origin” or
“domicile of birth”, the concept involved in it is something
different from what the words “place of birth” signify. And if
“domicile of birth” and “place of birth” cannot be taken as
synonymous, then the prohibition enacted in article 15(1)
against discrimination based on place of birth cannot apply to a
discrimination based on domicile.”
(underlining supplied)

16.4.2. The Court further rejected the contention that there could not be a

domicile of Madhya Bharat and also found force in the contention that the

expression “domicile” in the concerned clauses was essentially referable to

“residence”. The Court said:

“10. Under the Constitution, the power to legislate on
succession, marriage and minority has been conferred under
Entry 5 in the Concurrent List on both the Union and the State
Legislatures, and it is therefore quite conceivable that until the
center intervenes and enacts a uniform code for the whole of
India, each state might have its own laws on those subjects,
and thus there could be different domiciles for different States.
We do not, therefore, see any force in the contention that there
cannot be a domicile of Madhya Bharat under the Constitution.

12

Article 15 (1) of the Constitution of India reads under:-

“The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste,
sex, place of birth or any of them”.

29

11. It was also urged on behalf of the respondent that the word
“domicile” in the rule might be construed not in its technical
legal sense, but in a popular sense as meaning “residence”,
and the following passage in Wharton’s Law Lexicon, 14th
Edition, page 344 was quoted supporting such a construction :
“By the term ‘domicile’, in its ordinary acceptation, is mean the
place where a person lives or has his home. In this sense the
place where a person has his actual residence, inhabitancy, or
commorancy, is sometimes called his domicile”.

In Mcmullen v. Wadsworth: [1889] 14 A.C. 631, it was observed
by the Judicial Committee that “the word domicile in Article 63
(of the Civil Code of Lower Canada) was used in the sense of
residence, and did not refer to international domicile”. What has
to be considered is whether in the present context “domicile”
was used in the sense of residence. The rule requiring the
payment of a capitation fee and providing for exemption there
from refers only to bona fide residents within the State. There is
no reference to domicile in the rule itself, but in the Explanation
which follows, clauses (a) and (b) refer to domicile, and they
occur as part of the definition of “bona fide resident”.
In Corpus Juris Secundum, Volume 28, page 5, it is stated :
“The term ‘bona fide residence’ means the residence with
domiciliary intent”.

There is therefore considerable force in the contention of the
respondent that when the rule-making authorities referred to
domicile in clauses (a) and (b) they were thinking really of
residence. In this view also, the contention that the rule is
repugnant to article 15(1) must fail.”
16.4.3. The Court also rejected the contention that the Rule imposing

capitation fee was in contravention of Article 14 in the following:

“14. It is next contended for the petitioner that the imposition of
capitation fee on some of the students and not on others is
discriminatory, and is in contravention of Article 14 of the
Constitution, and therefore void. The impugned rule divides, as
already stated, self-nominees into two groups, those who are
bona fide residents of Madhya Bharat and those who are not,
and while it imposes a capitation fee on the latter, it exempts
the former from the payment thereof. It thus proceeds on a
classification based on residence within the State, and the only
point for decision is whether the ground of classification has a

30
fair and substantial relation to the purpose of the law, or
whether it is purely arbitrary and fanciful.

15. The object of the classification underlying the impugned rule
was clearly to help to some extent students who are residents
of Madhya Bharat in the prosecution of their studies, and it
cannot be disputed that it is quite a legitimate and laudable
objective for a State to encourage education within its borders.
Education is a State subject, and one of the directive principles
declared in Part IV of the Constitution is that the State should
make effective provisions for education within the limits of its
economy. (Vide article 41). The State has to contribute for the
upkeep and the running of its educational institutions. We are in
this petition concerned with a Medical College, and it is well-
known that it requires considerable finance to maintain such an
institution. If the State has to spend money on it, is it
unreasonable that it should so order the educational system
that the advantage of it would to some extent at least enure for
the benefit of the State? A concession given to the residents of
the State in the matter of fees is obviously calculated to serve
that end, as presumably some of them might, after passing out
of the College, settle down as doctors and serve the needs of
the locality. The classification is thus based on a ground which
has a reasonable relation to the subject-matter of the
legislation, and is in consequence not open to attack. It has
been held in The State of Punjab v. Ajaib Singh and another:
1953 S.C.R. 254 that a classification might validly be made on
a geographical basis. Such a classification would be eminently
just and reasonable, where it relates to education which is the
concern primarily of the State. The contention, therefore, that
the rule imposing capitation fee is in contravention of article 14
must be rejected.”

17. From the aforesaid, it is but clear that in Saurabh Chaudri, the

Constitution Bench found that the other Constitution Bench in D.P.Joshi had

rejected the contention that no provision could be made on the basis of

domicile/residence in relation to students taken in the medical colleges. In

other words, in Saurabh Chaudri, this Court relied upon the decision in

D.P.Joshi while holding that domicile/residence-based reservation was not

impermissible. Standing this exposition by the Constitution Bench of this

31
Court, it is difficult to conclude that domicile/residence-based

reservation/preference is a concept totally overthrown and jettisoned.

18. In the impugned order, it was noticed by the High Court that the

aforementioned paragraphs 29 to 32 in Saurabh Chaudri (supra) were sought

to be relied upon by the contesting respondents (some of them being the

appellants herein) to contend that preference on the basis of domicile is

permissible and does not offend the constitutional scheme of things. However,

after noticing such contention, the High Court switched over to the proposition

of institutional preference and extensively reproduced the passages from its

decision in Dr. Chahat Bhatia (supra). The High Court thereafter referred to

the stipulations in the questioned Clause 2B of the prospectus and found

basic flaws and shortcomings in the same. Having said so, the High Court

proceeded to observe that even if such a reservation (i.e., domicile/residence-

based reservation) was possible, it would have no hesitation in saying that the

questioned Clause in the prospectus was unsustainable. Thereafter, the High

Court observed that this Court in Saurabh Chaudri and Dr. Pradeep Jain has

clearly laid down that preference on the basis of residence is to be deprecated

in the matters of admission in PG Medical Courses; and reproduced

paragraph 46 as also paragraph 1 in Saurabh Chaudri while observing that

the conclusion in Saurabh Chaudri was the same as the one accorded in Dr.

Pradeep Jain13. In the process of such discussion and reasoning, the High
13
The other referred passages in the decision of the High Court relate to the issue concerning
institutional preference; and the conclusion of the Constitution Bench indicative of its accord with the
law laid down in Dr. Pradeep Jain had only been in regard to the institutional preference where the
Constitution Bench finally noticed and observed as under:

“67. This Court may therefore notice the following:

32
Court has not even touched the contention that in view of the aforesaid

answer by the Constitution Bench, preference on the basis of domicile was not

entirely impermissible; and seems to have clearly missed out the import of the

other answer by the Constitution Bench in Saurabh Chaudri, as occurring in

the above-quoted paragraphs 29 to 32.

19. It appears that for the Constitution Bench in Saurabh Chaudri having

largely approved the observation in Dr. Pradeep Jain’s case in relation to the

question of institutional preference, the High Court has assumed that all the

observations in Dr. Pradeep Jain stood ipso facto approved. True it is that in

Dr. Pradeep Jain, a three-Judge Bench of this Court stated its total

disapproval of domicile/residence-based reservation in PG Medical Courses 14

(i) The State runs the universities.

(ii) It has to spend a lot of money in imparting medical education to the
students of the State.

(iii) Those who get admission in postgraduate courses are also required to
be paid stipends. Reservation of some seats to a reasonable extent, thus,
would not violate the equality clause.

(iv) The criterion for institutional preference has now come to stay. It has
worked out satisfactorily in most of the States for the last about two
decades.

(v) Even those States which defied the decision of this Court in Dr Pradeep
Jain case had realized the need for institutional preference.

(vi) No sufficient material has been brought on record for departing from this
well-established admission criterion.

(vii) It goes beyond any cavil of doubt that institutional preference is based
on a reasonable and identifiable classification. It may be that while working
out the percentage of reservation invariably some local students will have
preference having regard to the fact that domicile/residence was one of the
criteria for admission in MBBS course. But together with the local students,
15% students who had competed in all-India entrance examination would
also be getting the same benefit. The percentage of students who were to
get the benefit of reservation by way of institutional preference would further
go down if the decision of this Court in Dr Pradeep Jain case is scrupulously
followed.

(viii) Giving of such a preference is a matter of State policy which can be
invalidated only in the event of being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution
of India.

(ix) The students who would get the benefit of institutional preference being
on identifiable ground, there is hardly any scope for manipulation.”
14
In Dr. Pradeep Jain, total disapproval of domicile/residence-based reservation in PG Medical
Courses was stated in the following:-

33
but such observations in Dr. Pradeep Jain, when read with reference to

aforesaid paragraphs 29 to 32 of the decision in Saurabh Chaudri, the

inevitable result is that domicile/residence-based reservation has not been

taken as an anathema altogether to these admission processes.

20. At this juncture, we may also briefly take note of the other decisions

cited and relied upon in these matters.

20.1. The other decisions relied upon by the respondents proceeded on their

own facts and the particular prescription of reservation was found invalid for its

own shortcomings. So far the decisions in Jagdish Saran, Dr. Pradeep Jain

and Magan Mehrotra are concerned, as noticed, they were rendered before

the decision by the Constitution Bench in Saurabh Chaudri.

20.2. In Nikhil Himthani (supra) the State of Uttarakhand had provided that

only such MBBS pass-outs from Government Colleges of Uttarakhand who

“22…..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. This
outer limit which we are fixing will also be subject to revision on the lower side by
the Indian Medical Council in the same manner as directed by us in the case of
admissions to the MBBS course. But, even in regard to admissions to the post-
graduate course, we would direct that so far as super specialities such as neuro-
surgery and cardiology are concerned, there should be no reservation at all even
on the basis of institutional preference and admissions should be granted purely on
merit on all-India basis.”
(underlining supplied)

34
were admitted to the MBBS Course through Uttarakhand State PMT would be

eligible, implying that the candidates applying through All India PMT would not

be eligible. Further, it was also provided that MBBS pass-outs from the

colleges outside State would be eligible only if they were domicile of State of

Uttarakhand and selected through MBBS in other States through All India

PMT or through Uttarakhand State PMT. In that context, this Court said that no

preference could be given to the candidates on the basis of domicile to

compete for institutional quota of the State.

20.3. In Vishal Goyal as also in Dr. Kriti Lakhina (supra) only ‘a candidate of

Karnataka origin’ was provided to be eligible to appear for entrance test; and

the expression had been defined in such a manner so as to exclude a

candidate who had otherwise completed MBBS or BDS in an institution in the

State of Karnataka. Such a stipulation was not approved for being in conflict

with the decision in Pradeep Jain’s case. In Vishal Goyal’s case, this Court

observed as under:

“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

35
of the Information Bulletin for PGET-2014 is clearly contrary to
the judgment of this Court in Pradeep Jain case.”

20.4. In Satyabrata Sahoo (supra), there were two categories of candidates-

direct and in-service. In direct category, students were to be selected strictly

on the basis of inter-se academic merit, as determined by a competitive test

whereas in-service was a restricted category of candidates who had put in at

least three years’ service in remote and difficult areas. 87 seats were available

for in-service candidates and 86 for direct category. The seats in direct

category were also reserved for members of SC/ST communities and also for

those SC/ST candidates who had migrated from their State of origin subject to

certain conditions. Under the category of direct candidates, there was an

additional weightage for candidates who were in employment of Government

of Odisha/Government of Odisha undertaking/Government of India/Public

Undertaking located in Odisha and had worked in rural/tribal/backward areas.

Additional weightage of 10% of the marks, up to maximum of 30% of the

marks obtained, for each year of service rendered in remote or difficult areas

was provided to the candidates applying in direct category. While dealing with

such stipulations, it was pointed out that weightage was available only for in-

service category, to which 50% seats for PG admission had already been

earmarked. The Court was of the view that on the strength of that weightage,

the encroachment or inroad or appropriation of seats earmarked for open

category candidates (direct admission category) would affect the candidates

who compete strictly on the basis of the merit; and there could be no

36
encroachment from one category to another. Hence, the candidates of in-

service category could not encroach upon the open category and vice-versa.

20.5. The aforesaid decisions proceed on their own facts but it is difficult to

cull out that domicile/residence-based reservation is altogether disapproved.

However, the manner of providing such domicile/residence-based reservation

would always remain subject to the requirements of rationality and

reasonableness; and cannot be approved if found irrational or arbitrary, as had

been the matters in Vishal Goyal and Dr. Kriti Lakhina (supra).

21. As regards the decision in Yatinkumar’s case (supra), suffice it to notice

that therein, a three-Judge Bench of this Court referred to several decisions

including that in Saurabh Chaudri and reiterated that institutional preference

has been consistently approved and permitted in the PG Medical Courses.

However, one of the contentions urged before the Court had been that with

introduction of NEET, the purpose for which institution preference was held

permissible by this Court was no longer existing. This Court took note of the

scheme of these admissions and found that admissions to the PG Medical

Courses, even in case of institutional preference/reservation, were to be given

only on the basis of merit and the marks obtained in NEET. This decision in

Yatinkumar’s case does not relate to the core issue involved in the present

matters pertaining to domicile/residence-based reservation but the significant

aspect noticeable from this decision is that this Court has indubitably

reiterated the position that the admissions to the PG Medical Courses on any

37
quota or preference are to be made only on the basis of merits and marks

obtained in NEET.

22. At this juncture and for the observations occurring in Yatinkumar’s case

(supra) as regards NEET, we may also take note of the fact that the provisions

for uniform entrance examination to all Medical Educational Institutions at the

undergraduate level and post-graduate level came to be inserted in the Indian

Medical Council Act, 1956 (‘the Act of 1956’) in the form of Section 10D 15

therein by way of Ordinance No. 4 of 2016 dated 24.05.2016 which was later

on replaced by the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Act, 2016. The

background in which the said provision came to be inserted had been that the

Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India issued notification

dated 21.12.2010 amending the existing statutory regulations to provide for a

single National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to the

MBBS/BDS courses. The said notifications were struck down in the case of

Christian Medical College, Vellore v. Union of India: (2014) 2 SCC 305.

However, the said decision was recalled by the order dated 11.04.2016 in

Review Petition (C) Nos. 2159-2268 of 2013. Several features related to the

professional unaided minority and non-minority educational institutions as also

15
Section 10D as inserted to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 reads as under:

“10D. There shall be conducted a uniform entrance examination to all medical
educational institutions at the undergraduate level and post-graduate level through such
designated authority in Hindi, English and such other languages and in such manner as
may be prescribed and the designated authority shall ensure the conduct of uniform
entrance examination in the aforesaid manner:

Provided that notwithstanding any judgment or order of any court, the provisions of
this section shall not apply, in relation to the uniform entrance examination at the
undergraduate level for the academic year 2016-17 conducted in accordance with any
regulations made under this Act, in respect of the State Government seats (whether in
Government Medical College or in a private Medical College) where such State has not
opted for such examination.”

38
the medical and dental education and healthcare systems came to be

examined and pronounced upon by a Constitution Bench of this Court on

02.05.2016 in the case of Modern Dental College and Research Centre

and Ors. v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors.: (2016) 7 SCC 353. That

had been the background in which Section 10D came to be introduced to the

Act of 1956 w.e.f. 24.05.2016. The observations in the said decision in

Modern Dental College as also the effect of the fact that the admissions to PG

Medical Courses are only based on the merit obtained in NEET also require

consideration vis-a-vis domicile/residence-based reservation.

23. On the other side of spectrum, we may also observe that the

generalised and blanket prohibition on domicile/residence-based reservation

may not be workable in relation to the State Quota seats of PG Medical

Courses. As noticed, the fundamental fact remains that all the admissions to

the Medical Courses, be it All India Quota or be it the State Quota, are made

on the basis of ranks obtained in NEET and not otherwise 16. 50% of the seats

are assigned to the States/Union Territories as being the State Quota seats.

As noticed, different States and Union Territories have made different

provisions for filling up these State Quota seats. The institutional preference,

that has also been held permissible in the decisions of this Court, obviously

comes into play in relation to such State Quota seats. However, even when

institutional preference carries a major or prominent role in relation to such

State Quota seats, varying provisions have also been made by different

States/UTs with reference to domicile/residence, seemingly for the purpose of
16
Subject to the provisions for reservations in relation to specified class of persons.

39
ensuring that the candidates belonging to a particular State/UT would be

available for rendering service in that State/UT after post-graduation.

23.1. The peculiar feature in relation to the State Quota seats is that if some

provision as regards domicile/residence-based reservation is not made, the

only other method of filling up these State Quota seats would be by way of

institutional preference. This would effectively result in entire of the State

Quota seats going to institutional preference alone. Now, if the entire State

Quota seats are provided for institutional preference alone, the consequence

would be that only the candidates of the medical institutions in the State/UT

would be filling up the State Quota seats; and such a consequence may not

be permissible at all.

23.2. Moreover, the unique situation in relation to UT Chandigarh is that it has

only one Medical College. Thus, the dispensation in question, as provided by

UT Chandigarh and its Medical College and as construed by High Court, if

given effect to, would inevitably result in cornering all the State Quota PG

seats by the students of that solitary Medical College alone. In the alternative,

if only 50% of State Quota seats are to be given to that Medical College, the

remaining 50% of State Quota seats would again fall in the pool of All India

Quota because there is no other mode of filling up these seats. We find it

difficult if either of such consequences could be countenanced.

23.3. It is also noteworthy that even as per the instructions issued by the

examining body, the State Quota seats could be filled up by the States, inter

alia, with reference to the domicile. In the given scenario, it is again difficult to

40
accept that domicile/residence-based reservation, as provided for filling up of

the State Quota open seats, be held invalid altogether.

24. Before summing up and making reference, we may observe in the passing

that in regard to the case at hand, the High Court has indicated several

reasons for its disapproval of the stipulations made in impugned Clause 2B of

the prospectus in question. Prima facie, it appears that even if

domicile/residence-based reservation in admission to PG Medical Courses is

held permissible, the mode and modalities for its application would still require

further examination because it remains questionable if such reservation could

be applied by way of such stipulations, as made in the impugned Clause 2B of

the prospectus in question. Having said so and for the order proposed to be

passed in these matters, we do not find it necessary to enter into microscopic

analysis of the sub-clauses pertaining to domicile/residence-based reservation

as occurring in the impugned Clause 2B of the prospectus in question and

would leave such questions open to be determined on the basis of answers to

the root questions by the Larger Bench.

Summation and Reference

25. For what has been discussed hereinabove, in our view, the question as

to whether providing for domicile/residence-based reservation, particularly in

admission to PG Medical Courses, is constitutionally permissible as also its

corollaries, including the mode and modalities of its implementation (if

permissible), more particularly in relation to the State/UT having only one

41
Medical College, need to be examined by a Larger Bench of this Court for

authoritative pronouncement.

26. Accordingly we would propose the following questions to be examined

by a Larger Bench of this Court :

1. As to whether providing for domicile/residence-based reservation

in admission to “PG Medical Courses” within the State Quota is

constitutionally invalid and is impermissible?

2. (a) If answer to the first question is in the negative and if

domicile/residence-based reservation in admission to “PG Medical

Courses” is permissible, what should be the extent and manner of

providing such domicile/residence-based reservation for admission to

“PG Medical Courses” within the State Quota seats?

(b) Again, if domicile/residence-based reservation in admission to

“PG Medical Courses” is permissible, considering that all the

admissions are to be based on the merit and rank obtained in NEET,

what should be the modality of providing such domicile/residence-

based reservation in relation to the State/UT having only one Medical

College?

3. If answer to the first question is in the affirmative and if

domicile/residence-based reservation in admission to “PG Medical

Courses” is impermissible, as to how the State Quota seats, other than

the permissible institutional preference seats, are to be filled up?

42

27. The matters be placed before Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India for

constitution of appropriate Larger Bench. The interim orders passed in these

matters shall continue until further orders.

……………………………J.

(A.M. KHANWILKAR) 1

………………………………J.

(DINESH MAHESHWARI) 1
New Delhi
Dated: 09th December, 2019

43

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2020 SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation
×

Free Legal Help, Just WhatsApp Away

MyNation HELP line

We are Not Lawyers, but No Lawyer will give you Advice like We do

Please read Group Rules – CLICK HERE, If You agree then Please Register CLICK HERE and after registration  JOIN WELCOME GROUP HERE

We handle Women Centric biased laws like False Sectioin 498A IPC, Domestic Violence(DV ACT), Divorce, Maintenance, Alimony, Child Custody, HMA 24, 125 CrPc, 307, 312, 313, 323, 354, 376, 377, 406, 420, 497, 506, 509; TEP, RTI and many more…

MyNation FoundationMyNation FoundationMyNation Foundation