The Supreme Court today upheld the decision of the Maharashtra government to provide 20 per cent reservation to in-service officers in postgraduate medical admissions in the state.

A bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli said it was difficult to accept the submission of the petitioners that the government resolution should not apply in the current academic year because of change in rules midway.

"We are of the considered view that the judgement of the Bombay High Court does not call for interference," the Bench said.

The Court also clarified that any postgraduate medical seat not filled up after the second round would go to the general category.

At the outset, Senior Advocate Anand Grover, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that reservation for in-service candidates was introduced in midstream which is against a judgement of the top court which held that the rules of the game cannot be changed once the admission process has been initiated.

He said the decision of the state government to provide a 20 per cent quota for in service officers was bad for meritorious candidates.

Grover said the Maharashtra government has not collected any data to provide the 20 per cent reservation which is evident from the fact that out of 1,416 seats for PG, 286 seats were available for the in-service quota but only 69 candidates appeared for NEET PG.

Advocate Siddharth Abhay Dharmadhikari, appearing for Maharashtra, rebutted the argument, saying there was no change in rules governing the admission midstream. Dharmadhikari said that the reservation for in-service candidates was restored after the Constitution bench decision.

The Apex Court was hearing a plea filed by some candidates against a judgment of the High Court which refused to grant them relief.

The High Court has noted that the petitioners had not challenged the notification issued by the state government dated September 26, 2022 and had only said that the order should not be effective for the academic year 2022-23.

"From the academic year 2022-23, government approval is being given to reserve 20 per cent seats for in-service candidates for admissions to PG medical and diploma courses in government and civic-run medical colleges in the state," the Maharashtra government resolution had said.

With PTI inputs