Agartala: The Gauhati
High Court has found the Medical Council of India (MCI)
eligibility criterion for MBBS aspirants from the scheduled castes
and tribes "irrational and in violation of Article 14 of the
Indian Constitution", officials said Sunday.
According to MCI regulations, MBBS aspirants from these categories
must secure at least 40 percent marks in the combined competitive
examinations or joint entrance examinations (JEE). The union
health ministry and the MCI had earlier refused to further relax
the criterion for northeastern tribes and scheduled caste
A senior Tripura health department official said around 31 MBBS
seats were lying vacant in the government-run medical college in
Agartala and in the Tripura quota in other states because no
student secured the minimum in the JEE this year in the state.
Some students and guardians have filed a writ petition in the
Gauhati High Court against the MCI regulations.
"The High Court has asked the authorities to admit those students
in the MBBS courses within a week against their respective quota
of seats," the official said, quoting the court order passed
Friday in Guwahati.
"The division bench of the court, comprising I.A. Ansari and C.R.
Sarma, said in their ruling that state secondary board examination
results were sufficient," the official said.
"Though the MCI regulations had been upheld by the Supreme Court
in its various verdicts, the fact of the matter remains that in
the decisions, cited and relied upon, the constitutionality of the
regulation have been put to challenge," the court is reported as
"When the issue has not specifically been raised and has not been
decided, the constitutionality of the MCI's regulation remains
open for challenge on the ground of its irrationality," the high
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, responding to a letter of
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, has communicated the centre's
decision to follow the MCI guidelines.
Azad had said: "Though the health ministry agrees in principle
that there is need to make enabling conditions to encourage the
underprivileged sections of the society, so far as medical
education is concerned, it is felt that diluting the qualifying
criteria would neither be feasible not desirable.