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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to ensure that the seats made available after the scrapping of the 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in postgraduate medical and dental courses are filled strictly on merit.
The apex court also directed the concerned authorities to not exclude candidates from any category.
A vacation bench comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Ajay Rastogi said: "The seats will now be available in the general category and will be filled up as per merit in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in accordance with the order dated June 4.
"There can be no question of exclusion of any meritorious candidate irrespective of the category provided; the candidates get cut-off marks as required for the general category."
The court was hearing three applications related to the EWS quota application in postgraduate medical colleges.
One application contended that the court's order may
come in the way of the Bombay High Court hearing a plea challenging the
ordinance passed by the Maharashtra government, which attempts to reinstate
Socially and Economically Backward Classes quota, referred to as Maratha quota.
The second application sought modification of the June 4 order and allow students to change their options, in the view of fresh counseling. The Court refused to entertain it.
The third application was filed by a student from the Other Backward Class (OBC) category which alleged that seats that fell vacant after the scrapping of the EWS quota have been included in the general category pool, but students belonging to other categories, despite having merit, were being excluded.
In May, the apex court had struck down the notifications related to EWS quota for the current academic year.
After hearing the petitioners, the court refused to modify the June 4 order, saying there was no ambiguity which required clarification.
On June 4, the apex court had directed the Maharashtra government to reshuffle and hold "final" counseling for general candidates who got admission to PG medical and dental seats on or before June 14.
The court also added that no petition or application in relation to admission in this year shall be entertained by any court.
In the June 4 order, the vacation bench comprising Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice M.R. Shah directed the state government to advertise and give wide publicity to "final round of counseling" and complete the process within the stipulated time period on the basis of merit, directing the former not to miss the deadline.
The court also said that preferences made by the candidates while filling up the admission forms will remain intact and cannot be changed during the reshuffling and counseling process.
The court had said: "No application and petition in connection with the admission in PG medical courses in the state, for this current academic year, can be entertained by any other court."
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