“Institutional Preference” for Post Graduate Medical Admissions is the core issue involved in these appeal/petitions. = The decision of this Court in the case of Dinesh Kumar (Dr. )(II) (supra) permitting 25% Institutional Preference has been distinguished by a Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of Saurabh Chaudri(supra). Therefore, once the Institutional Preference to the extent of 50% of the total number of open seats has held to be permissible, in that case, thereafter it will be for the appropriate authority/State to consider how much percentage seats are to be reserved for Institutional Preference/Reservation. It will be in the realm of a policy decision and this Court cannot substitute the same, unless it is held to be arbitrary and/or mala fide and/or not permissible. As observed hereinabove, a five Judge Bench of this Court in the case of Saurabh Chaudri (supra) has categorically allowed/permitted/approved the Institutional Preference/Reservation in the post graduate medical courses to the extent of 50% of the total number of open seats. Therefore, for the reasons stated above and considering the decisions of this Court in the cases of Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra); a Constitution Bench decision of this Court in the case of Saurabh Chaudri (supra); and Saurabh Dwivedi (supra), Institutional Preference to the extent of 50% is approved and it is observed and held that introduction of the NEET Scheme shall not affect such Institutional Preference/Reservation. Such a regulation providing 50% Institutional Preference/Reservation shall not be in any way ultra vires to Section 10D of the MCI Act. Even otherwise, as observed hereinabove, even in the case of Institutional Preference/Reservation, the admissions in the post graduate courses are to be given on the basis of the merits and marks obtained in the NEET examination result only.

REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.7939 OF 2019 (Arising from SLP(C) No. 7003 of 2017) Yatinkumar Jasubhai Patel and others …Appellants Versus State of Gujarat and others …Respondents WITH WRIT PETITION (C) NO. 122 OF 2018 WRIT PETITION(C) NO. 1479 OF 2018 WRIT PETITION (C) NO. 1142 OF 2019 J U D G M E N T M.R. SHAH, J. Leave granted in the special leave petition. 1 2. The   “Institutional   Preference”   for   Post   Graduate   Medical Admissions is the core issue involved in these appeal/petitions.   3. Pursuant to the order passed by a two Judge Bench of this Court dated 12.09.2018, all these appeal/petitions are placed before the larger Bench. 4. Feeling   aggrieved   and   dissatisfied   with   the   impugned judgment and order dated 22.02.2017 passed by the Division Bench of the High Court of Gujarat in Special Civil Application No. 19918/2016, by which the Division Bench has dismissed the said writ petition upholding the vires of Rules 2, 3, 4.1 and 4.3 relating   to   admission   to   the   Post   Graduate   Medical   Courses framed by the Gujarat University providing that the preference shall be given to the candidates graduating from the Gujarat University (providing for “Institutional Reservation”), the original writ petitioners have preferred the special leave petition/appeal. Thus,   the   original   writ   petitioners   are   challenging   the “Institutional Preference” in the Post Graduate Medical Courses. 4.1 Writ Petition (C) No. 1479 of 2018 under Article 32 of the Constitution of India has been preferred by the petitioners also challenging the policy of “Institutional Preference” for admission to the Post Graduate Medical Courses insofar as respondent no.3 2 – University of Delhi and respondent no.4 – Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University is concerned.  Similar prayers are made in   Writ   Petition   (C)   No.   122/2018   and   Writ   Petition(C)   No. 1142/2019   also   challenging   the   policy   of   “Institutional Preference” in the Post Graduate Medical Courses. 4.2 For   the   sake   of   convenience,   Civil   Appeal   arising   from Special   Leave   Petition(C)   No.   7003/2017   arising   out   of   the impugned judgment and order dated 22.02.2017 passed by the High Court of Gujarat is treated and considered as a lead matter and   the   relevant   rules   of   the   Gujarat   University   relating   to admission to the Post Graduate Medical Courses framed by the Gujarat University are considered. 5. In exercise of powers under Section 39 read with Section 32 of the Gujarat University Act, 1949, the Gujarat University has framed the rules for the purpose of governing admission to Post Graduate Courses.  The relevant Rules are Rules 2, 3, 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3, which read as under: “2. As per directive of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, New Delhi, 50% of total available seats in Academic year in various post graduate degree and diploma courses in each subject in Government Institution/Colleges will be filled up as a All India Quota Seats as per All India 50% quota rank by competent authority.  The remaining seats 3 will be available for the candidates passing from Gujarat University in  accordance with  Rule 4.1.   The  student passing from other statutory Universities within Gujarat State will be considered as per their merit in accordance with Rule 4.3.  3. Remaining 50% (or more) of total seats after Rule 2.0 (and Rule 2.1) in post graduate courses will be filled up by the “Admission Committee” of University. 4.0 Selection:   Selection   of   candidates   eligible   under rule 1 for seats under rule 3.0 will be done category and status wise on the basis of merits as laid down herein further. 4.1 Preference shall be given to candidates graduating from Gujarat University. 4.2 Deleted. 4.3 After   the   merit   list   prepared   under   Rule   4.1   is exhausted   the   candidates   graduating   from   any   other University located in Gujarat State will be considered.” 5.1 As per the aforesaid Rules, 50% of the total available seats in   the   academic   year   in   various   Post   Graduate   Degree   and Diploma   Courses   in   each   subject   in   Government Institution/Colleges will be filled up as “All India Quota Seats” by competent authority and the remaining seats will be filled up in accordance with Rule 4.1 of the Rules of the University.  As per Rule 3 of the Rules, remaining 50% of the total seats in Post Graduate Courses will be filled up by the “Admission Committee” 4 of University.   As  per Rule 4.3 of  the  Rules, after merit  list prepared   under   rule   4.1   is   exhausted,   candidates   graduating from   any   other   University   located   in   Gujarat   State   will   be considered. 5.2 The   original   writ   petitioners   challenged   the   vires   of   the afore­stated Rules providing  “Institutional  Preference” –  giving preference to the candidates graduating from Gujarat University mainly on the ground that in view of introduction of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (hereinafter referred to as ‘NEET’) and the admissions are to be given solely on the basis of the merits and   the   marks   obtained   in   the   NEET,   the   Rules   providing “Institutional Preference” shall be violative of the Indian Medical Council   Act,   1956   and   the   Post   Graduate  Medical   Education Regulations, 2000 framed under the Indian Medical Council Act. That by the impugned judgment and order and after considering the decisions of this Court in the cases of  Dr. Pradeep Jain v. Union   of   India   reported   in   1984   (3)   SCC   654;   and  Saurabh Chaudri v. Union of India reported in 2003 (11) SCC 146 and after considering the scheme of the NEET (PG), the High Court has dismissed the said petition holding the “Institutional Preference”. 5 Hence, the present appeal challenging the policy of “Institutional Preference” in the Post Graduate Medical Courses. 6. Learned   counsel   appearing   for   the   writ   petitioners   have vehemently submitted that it is true that earlier – prior to the introduction of the NEET, the “Institutional Preference” in the Post   Graduate   Medical   Courses   is   held   to   be   permissible. However, in view of the introduction of the NEET which brings about the change to the effect that all admissions to the Post Graduate Medical Courses should be only on the basis of merit in the NEET, as per Regulation 9 of the Post Graduate Medical Education   Admission   Regulations,   2000,   now   “Institutional Preference” would not be permissible and the same shall be ultra vires the Medical Council Act and the Regulations, 2000 and contrary to the scheme of the NEET. 6.1 It is vehemently submitted by the learned counsel for the writ petitioners that the purpose due to which such “Institutional Reservation” was held permissible by this Court no longer exists as now there exists 50% All India Quota and the admission is also done on the basis of an All India Examination – NEET. 6.2 It is further submitted by the learned counsel for the writ petitioners that even the MCI Regulations for the Post Graduate 6 Admissions,   namely,   Regulations,   2000   do   not   permit “Institutional   Reservation”.     It   is   submitted   that   the   MCI Regulations have been held by this Court to be a complete Code and therefore no reservations could be provided unless the same is permitted under the regulations.   In support of the above, reliance is placed upon the decision of this Court in the case of State of U.P. v. Dinesh Singh Chauhan reported in (2016) 9 SCC 749. 7. So   far   as   the   Delhi   University   and   Guru   Gobind   Singh Indraprastha University are concerned, it is submitted by the learned counsel for the respective petitioners that under the MCI Regulations, admissions are to be done only by way of two lists, i.e., (i) 50% seats on the basis of “All India Merit List”; and (ii) 50% seats to be filled on the basis of “State­wise List”.   It is submitted that the admissions to the State Quota seats in the aforesaid two Universities are not being done on unified “Statewise List” but both the universities are preparing two separate “University­wise” lists which is not in accordance with the MCI Regulations.   7.1 It   is   further   submitted   by   the   learned   counsel   for   the respective   petitioners   that   the   two   universities   have   provided 7 “Institutional   Reservation”   to   an   extent   of   100%   of   the   State Quota seats, i.e., the entire State quota has been reserved for their alumni completely denying opportunity of selection to other State   candidates.     It   is   submitted   that   the   petitioners   being MBBS graduates from the State of NCT of Delhi are entitled to be considered under the State quota seats.  It is submitted that at present because of the “Institutional Reservation”, the petitioners are not entitled to be considered under the State quota at all.  It is   submitted   that   therefore   100%   “Institutional   Reservation” cannot  at all  be  permitted even  if it  is otherwise  held to  be permissible. 8. It is further submitted by the learned counsel for the writ petitioners   that   in   the   case   of  Dr.   Pradeep   Jain   (supra), “Institutional Preference” was limited to 50% of the total number of open seats.   It is submitted that the same was held to be permissible at a time when 100% seats in the State colleges were filled up by the State.  It is submitted that in the case of AIIMS Students’   Union   v.   AIIMS   reported   in   (2002)   1   SCC   428,   the “Institutional Reservation” was permitted only to an extent of 25%.   It is submitted that similarly in the case of  Dr. Saurabh Chaudhary (supra), the “Institutional Preference” was permitted 8 to the extent of 50%.  It is submitted that even if this Court holds the “Institutional Preference” permissible, in that case, the same should be limited to the 50% of the total number of State quota seats. 9. All these appeal/petitions are vehemently opposed by the learned Advocates appearing on behalf of the respective States, respective   Universities   and   the   learned   counsel   appearing   on behalf of the MCI.  Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respective respondents have vehemently submitted that, as such, the “Institutional Preference” is held to be permissible by this Court right from 1971.   It is submitted that the issue involved with respect to “Institutional Preference” is now not res integra in view of the decisions of this Court in the cases of D.N. Chanchala v. State of Mysore reported in (1971) 2 SCC 293; Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra);  a Constitution Bench judgment in the case of  Saurabh Chaudri (supra); and Gujarat University v. Rajiv Gopinath Bhatt reported in (1996) 4 SCC 60.  It is submitted therefore now it will not be open for the petitioners to again re­agitate the issue with respect to “Institutional Preference”.   It is submitted that the relevant   regulations   prescribing   “Institutional   Preference”   are 9 absolutely in consonance with the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decisions. 9.1 Learned   counsel   appearing   on   behalf   of   the   MCI,   while opposing the present appeal/petitions, has vehemently submitted that admission to Post Graduate Medical Courses in the medical colleges is done on the basis of the NEET merit and 50% seats are filled up on merit drawn on “All India basis” and 50% seats are   filled   up   on   merit   drawn   on   “State­wise   basis”.     It   is submitted   that   earlier   the   Gujarat   University   used   to   hold examinations   for   Post   Graduate   Medical   Courses   and   now instead of such test by the Gujarat University, merit is to be determined  on   the   basis  of   NEET  examination   results.     It  is submitted that the National Board of Examinations is entrusted with the job of holding NEET test for admission to Post Graduate Medical Courses.   It is submitted that as per the information bulletin issued by the National Board of Examination, 50% of the available seats are All India Quota seats and the remaining seats are to be filled either by the State Government or Colleges or Universities at the institute level using NEET­PG score and as per the applicable regulations and/or eligibility criteria, reservation policy, etc.  It is submitted that for the remaining 50% seats, it is 10 left open for the State Government and Government Agency to make admission in such colleges, universities and institutions following   the   score   obtained   by   the   students   in   the   NEET examination.  It is submitted therefore that holding of common examination cannot lead to invalidity of “Institutional Preference” as has been held permissible by this Court in catena of decisions. It is further submitted that after uniform entrance examination through NEET, provisions of Section 10D does not debar source from which admissions are to be made at the post graduate level. 9.2 Making the above submissions, it is prayed to dismiss the present appeal/writ petitions. 10. The short question which is posed for consideration of this Court is, whether after the introduction of the NEET Scheme, still the   “Institutional   Preference”   in   the   Post   Graduate   Medical Courses would be permissible? 10.1 At the outset, it is required to be noted that, as such, and it is not in dispute that such “Institutional Preference” in the Post Graduate Medical Courses is held to be permissible by this Court in catena of decisions, more particularly a three Judge bench decision of this Court in the case of Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra); a Constitution Bench decision of this Court in the case of Saurabh 11 Chaudri (supra); and in the case of Saurabh Dwivedi v. Union of India reported in (2017) 7 SCC 626. 10.2 In the case of  Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra), it is observed and held by this Court as under: “We are therefore of the view that so far as admissions to post­graduate courses, such as MS, MD and the like are concerned, it would be eminently desirable not to provide for   any   reservation   based   on   residence   requirement within   the   State   or   on   institutional   preference.     But having regard to  broader considerations of equality of opportunity   and   institutional   continuity   in   education which has its own importance and value, we would direct that though residence requirement within the State shall not be a ground for reservation in admissions to postgraduate courses, a certain percentage of seats may in the present circumstances, be reserved on the basis of institutional preference in the sense that a student who has   passed   MBBS   course   from   a   medical   college   or university, may be given preference for admission to the post­graduate   course   in   the   same   medical   college   or university   but   such   reservation   on   the   basis   of institutional preference should not in any event exceed 50 per cent of the total number of open seats available for admission to the post­graduate course.  This outer limit which we are fixing will also be subject to revision on the lower side by the Indian Medical Council in the same manner as directed by us in the case of admissions to the MBBS course.  But, even in regard to admissions to the post­graduate   course,   we   would   direct   that   so   far   as super specialities such as neuro­surgery and cardiology are concerned, there should be no reservation at all even on the basis of institutional preference and admissions should be granted purely on merit on all­India basis.”

[emphasis supplied]

12 10.3 Thereafter, a five Judge Bench of this Court in the case of Saurabh   Chaudri   (supra)  has   reiterated   the   scheme   of “Institutional Preference” as framed in  Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra) and has approved the “Institutional Preference” confined to 50% of the total number of open seats.   In that decision, this Court also took note of the subsequent decision in the case of Dinesh Kumar (Dr.) (II) v. Motilal Nehru Medical College, reported in (1986) 3 SCC 727  fixing the “Institutional Preference” to the extent of 25%.  However, after taking note of the said decision, this Court has reiterated the scheme framed in   Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra) providing “Institutional Preference” confined to 50% of the total number of open seats.  In the case of Saurabh Dwivedi (supra), this   Court   has   again   approved   the   “Institutional   Preference”. Thus, right from 1971 onwards till 2017, consistently this Court has approved and/or permitted the “Institutional Preference” in the Post Graduate Medical Courses. However, it is the case on behalf of the petitioners that in view of the introduction of the NEET Scheme and in view of Section 10D of the MCI Act, by which admissions are to be given on the basis of the merit in the NEET, such an “Institutional 13 Preference” would not be permissible.  It is required to be noted that introduction of the NEET has, as such, nothing to do with any   preference/Institutional   Preference,   more   particularly   the “Institutional Preference”  as approved by this Court time and again.  The purpose and object of the introduction of the NEET was to conduct a uniform entrance examination for all medical educational   institutions   at   the   under­graduate   level   or   postgraduate level and admissions at the under­graduate level and post­graduate level are to be given solely on the basis of the merits and/or marks obtained in the NEET examination only.  It is required to be noted that earlier the respective universities including the Gujarat University used to hold examination for post­graduate admission to medical courses and now instead of such   tests   by   the   Gujarat   University/concerned   universities, merit is to be determined on the basis of the NEET examination results only and admissions are required to be given on the basis of such merits or marks obtained in NEET.  The only obligation by   virtue   of   introduction   of   NEET   is   that,   once   centralized admission test is conducted, the State, its agencies, universities and institutions cannot hold any separate test for the purpose of admission to Post­Graduate and PG and Diploma Courses and 14 such   seats   are   to   be   filled   up   by   the   State   agencies, universities/institutions for preparing merit list as per the score obtained by the applicants in NEET examination and therefore by introduction of the NEET, Section 10D of the MCI, Act has been amended,   consequently   amendment   to   the   Post­Graduate Education   Regulations,   2000,   admission   to   Post   Graduate Courses are made providing for solely on the basis of the score secured   by   the   candidates   seeking   admission   based   on centralized examination, i.e., NEET. 10.4 Even   while   giving   admissions   in   the   State quota/institutional   reservation   quota,   still   the   admissions   are required to be given on the basis of the merits determined on the basis of the NEET examination results.  Under the circumstances, introduction of the NEET Scheme, as such, has nothing to do with   the   “Institutional   Preference”.     Therefore,   the   change   by introduction of the NEET Scheme shall not affect the Institutional Preference/Reservation as approved by this Court from time to time   in   catena   of   decisions,   more   particularly   the   decisions referred to hereinabove.   Under the guise of introduction of the NEET Scheme, the petitioners cannot be permitted to re­agitate and/or re­open the issue with respect to Institutional Preference 15 which has been approved and settled by this Court in catena of decisions, more particularly the decisions referred to hereinabove. 11. Now so far as the submission on behalf of the petitioners that   if   the   50%   seats   are   reserved   for   State   quota   and   if institutional preference/reservation is permitted to the extent of 50% of the total number of open seats, in that case, not a single seat   in   the   State   quota   shall   be   available   and   therefore   the percentage   of   Institutional   Preference   may   be   reduced   to   the extent of 25% or so is concerned, at the outset, it is required to be noted that as such the Institutional Preference to the extent of 50% of the total number of open seats has been approved by this Court   in   catena   of   decisions,   more   particularly   the   decisions referred to hereinabove.  The decision of this Court in the case of Dinesh   Kumar   (Dr.   )(II)   (supra)  permitting   25%   Institutional Preference has been distinguished by a Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of  Saurabh Chaudri(supra).   Therefore, once the Institutional Preference to the extent of 50% of the total number of open seats has held to be permissible, in that case, thereafter   it   will   be   for   the   appropriate   authority/State   to consider   how   much   percentage   seats   are   to   be   reserved   for Institutional Preference/Reservation.  It will be in the realm of a 16 policy decision and this Court cannot substitute the same, unless it is held to be arbitrary and/or mala fide and/or not permissible. As observed hereinabove, a five Judge Bench of this Court in the case   of  Saurabh   Chaudri   (supra)  has   categorically allowed/permitted/approved   the   Institutional Preference/Reservation in the post graduate medical courses to the extent of 50% of the total number of open seats.   12. Therefore, for the reasons stated above and considering the decisions of this Court in the cases of  Dr. Pradeep Jain (supra); a Constitution Bench decision of this Court in the case of Saurabh Chaudri   (supra);  and  Saurabh   Dwivedi   (supra),  Institutional Preference to the extent of 50% is approved and it is observed and held that introduction of the NEET Scheme shall not affect such   Institutional   Preference/Reservation.     Such   a   regulation providing 50% Institutional Preference/Reservation shall not be in any way ultra vires to Section 10D of the MCI Act.   Even otherwise,   as   observed   hereinabove,   even   in   the   case   of Institutional Preference/Reservation, the admissions in the post graduate courses are to be given on the basis of the merits and marks obtained in the NEET examination result only. 17 In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, all these   appeal/writ   petitions   deserve   to   be   dismissed   and   are accordingly dismissed.  No costs. ……………………………………..J. [ARUN MISHRA] ……………………………………..J. [M.R. SHAH] NEW DELHI; ……………………………………..J. OCTOBER 04, 2019. [B.R. GAVAI] 18