NRI quota in PG medical and dental courses in private colleges not sacrosanct: Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court on Friday held that NRI quota in PG Medical and Dental courses is not “sacrosanct” in any given academic year and private medical colleges are not obligated to earmark such seats for admissions. The top court stated that if a medical college or institution or the state regulating authority decides to do away with such quota, then a reasonable notice of such a choice be issued to enable those aspiring for such seats to select elsewhere.

    The bench further observed that a combined effect of the provisions of the Medical Council of India Act and regulations with respect to admissions and the decisions of the Supreme Court, is that “private colleges and institutions which offer such professional and technical courses, have some elbow room.” They can decide whether, and to what extent, they wish to offer NRI or management quotas.

    The verdict through a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat upheld the selection of the division bench of Rajasthan High Court which had ruled that private colleges are not obligated to earmark NRI quota upto the extent of 15 per cent of complete seats.

    The top court referred to the seven-judge verdict of 2005 in P A Inamdar versus State of Maharashtra and stated that a plain reading of the judgement reveals that “a provision for 15 per cent NRI quota was not compulsory; it was solely potential”. “As a result of the discussion, it is evident that the NRI quota is neither sacrosanct, not inviolable in terms of existence in any given year, or its extent”, it said.

    The bench further clarified that the “discretion should be tempered; if the discretion to have such a quota is exercised, it should be revised or modified reasonably, and within reasonable time.”

    The Court also expressed its opinion that having regard to the prevailing conditions, a special counselling session should be carried out by the board, confined or restricted to the seats in respect of which admissions were made pursuant to the single judge’s directions.