Incentive marks in PG to rural docs fine: SC

The Supreme Court has upheld the regulation of Medical Council of India (MCI) to give incentive marks to doctors working in rural areas for getting admission to PG courses, saying it would encourage medical practitioners to opt for assignments in remote areas facing acute shortage of doctors.A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said on Tuesday that the academic merit of a candidate should also reckon the services rendered for public good and there was nothing wrong in the regulation framed by MCI. It said marks obtained in the common entrance examination should not be the sole criteria for admission to PG courses in medical science.
“The provision in the shape of Regulation 9 is to determine the merit of the competing candidates. Provision for giving incentive marks to in-service candidates is permissible in law; and thus the proviso to Clause IV in the Regulation must be upheld in larger public interest,“ said Justice Khanwilkar, who wrote the judgement.
“The provision has been introduced, inter-alia, also to address the deficiency and lack of response of graduate doctors to serve in remote or difficult areas. The scarcity of doctors in villages has been felt for quite some time for which the provision was necessitated,“ the judgment said.
In order to address scarcity of medical practitioners in rural areas, MCI had framed regulation under which incentive marks were to be given at the rate of 10% of NEET score for each year of service in remote or difficult areas up to a maximum of 30%.
Upholding the validity of the law, the bench said large number of posts in public health centres are lying vacant as doctors were not interested in pursuing their career in rural areas and the regulation would help in solving the problem.
The court however, quashed the Uttar Pradesh government's order to provide 30% quota in admissions to PG medical courses for those doctors who had served in government hospitals in rural areas, saying it was not in line with the regulation.

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