Maharashtra promulgates ordinance for SEBC quota in medical education

Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao during 2019 Republic Day parade at Shivaji Park in Mumbai

Mumbai, Spelling relief to around 250 post-graduate students on the warpath since nearly a fortnight, Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao on Monday signed an ordinance to provide benefit of reservations in admissions to social and educationally backward classes in medical and dental undergraduate and post-graduate courses.

The Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2019, followed a recommendation by the Maharashtra government, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

Accordingly, there will be reservations in favour of candidates belonging to SEBCs for the current academic year, 2019-2020, and also for admissions to other educational courses including undergraduate courses requiring the passing of NEET or any other national entrance test.

Coordinator for the agitating students Harshal Padekar, however, said that the Ordinance has not yet been uploaded on the websites of the Department of Medical Education and Research and the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test Cell (CET).

“We shall continue our stir till this is done and we are permitted to resume our respective duties where we have taken admissions. We expect it to happen later tonight or tomorrow (Tuesday),” Padekar told IANS.

After the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court scrapped the applicability of SEBC quotas for the current academic year (2019), some 250 medical students who had secured admissions to various post-graduation courses in Maharashtra were left with an uncertain future.

Launching their agitation nearly two weeks ago, they demanded the state government’s immediate intervention to prevent them from losing a valuable academic year.

The state government had assured them last week it would promulgate an Ordinance to reserve their seats, which has finally come through on Monday.

The PG medical courses had started on May 2, but on May 5, the students were informed that their admissions were cancelled, though they had paid full fees and joined duties.

They had secured admissions on the basis of the Maratha quota (SEBC) while cancelling their seats won through the All India Quota, but the SEBC quota has been declared invalid for the current year, Padekar said.

The worse was, all other options of seeking admissions, like entrance exams, have already closed, and the students stand to lose their academic year, he added.

The Bombay High Court had, on May 4, said that the March 8 notification on the implementation of the new 16 per cent reservations for the Maratha community under the SEBC quota, would not be applicable to the post-graduate medical admission process which had already got underway earlier.

Following this, the state government moved the Supreme Court seeking an ex-parte stay on the Bombay HC ruling and leave to file an appeal.

However, the apex court also upheld the Bombay HC order saying that SEBC Act, Section 16(2) bars the grant of reservations if the process of entrance test had already started before the Act came into force.

The state government contended that these students who secured admission under the SEBC were allotted admissions under the All India quota, which they had cancelled, and hence they could lose an academic year.

The SC had extended the deadline for admissions from May 18 to May 25, but students claim that it may not be enough.

After these developments, the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell had issued the orders cancelling the admissions given under the SEBC quota.

Last year, on November 30, 2018, the Maharashtra government had proposed 16 per cent reservations in jobs and education for the Maratha community under the SEBC.