A Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat of Supreme Court today ruled that private medical colleges are not compulsorily required to provide a quota for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
The Court stated that private medical institutions offering professional and technical courses are well within their powers to decide whether or not NRI or management quota may be culled out, and to what extent the same can be done, within the permissible ceiling.
The Court further held that should a decision be taken by the concerned authority to do away with such a quota, a reasonable notice to this effect must be given so that aspirants can accordingly apply for other seats.
The verdict was passed in a petition filed against the decision of a Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court which had held that private medical colleges and institutes are not mandated to provide for an NRI quota.
In the present case, the Chairman of the NEET PG Counselling Board had issued a notice to scrap the NRI quota for admissions, clarifying that the aspirants who had applied under the quota would be considered for admission based on other eligibility criteria. When this notice was challenged by some candidates before the High Court, the Single Judge had directed for those candidates to be given admission.
The verdict was passed in a petition filed against the decision of a Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court which had held that private medical colleges and institutes are not mandated to provide for an NRI quota. The High Court had that should the colleges avail the same, it must be within the limit of 15 per cent of the total seats as per the judgment of a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of PA Inamdar.
The Apex Court agreed with the Division Bench and made the position in law on the scope of “positive directions” clear. It held,
“There is a body of case law which clarifies that sans a statutory duty, a positive direction to do something in a specific manner, cannot be given (“it must be shown that there is a statute which imposes a legal duty and the aggrieved party has a legal right under the statute to enforce its performance.”). The NRI candidates could not assert a right to be admitted; furthermore, while granting relief, the single judge could at best have directed consideration of the cases of the writ petitioners before him.”
Having said so, the Court also underscored the peculiar circumstances in this case owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the last minute policy change on the issue of NRI quota.