The state government on Monday decided to extend the deadline for submitting admission forms for postgraduate programmes in medicine by a week. The last day for submitting the admission form was May 15, which has now been extended.
The assurance was given by Minister for Higher and Medical Education Girish Mahajan after over 250 MBBS students from the Maratha community staged a demonstration at Azad Maidan in Mumbai to protest against the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the 16 per cent Maratha quota in postgraduate medical seats this year. The students want the 16 per cent quota for Marathas implemented from this year in postgraduate medical admissions.
Earlier, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting with Mahajan. Later, Mahajan met the students and urged them to withdraw their demonstration, assuring them adequate time by extending the admission dateline.
In October last year, the state government passed the Bill facilitating 16 per cent quota for the Maratha community under Social and Economical Backward Class (SEBC) category. Thus, paving the way for Maratha students to avail the quota in all educational courses, including professional courses.
However, the state government’s decision was challenged in court. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, which disapproved Maratha quota in higher medical studies. After the apex court’s decision, the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (CET) issued circular cancelling admission under the SEBC quota. The decision has affected 253 students.
Dr Subhada Bahirat, an MBBS student who was among those who agitated at Azad Maidan, said, “I completed my MBBS from Solapur Medical College in open category. Under Maratha quota, I enrolled myself for postgraduate studies. I got admission in Nair Hospital. Six days after my admission, I was informed of its cancellation. Now, at the eleventh hour, I have to hunt for a suitable college in open category for postgraduation. The problem is, in open category, I’m not going to get the stream of my choice, which is gynaecology. Moreover, there is a huge financial burden too.”
Vikrant Bhosale, another MBBS from Indapur in Pune, said, “Under Maratha quota, I got admission in Tata Hospital. After a few days, I was informed that the court has struck down the quota. So, I should seek admission afresh under open category.”
The Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is supporting the students, have urged Fadnavis to exercise special powers to restore Maratha quota admission in postgraduate medical studies.
A senior government official, however, said, “The government has consulted legal experts. It was brought to their notice that the government cannot overrule the SC verdict.”
Instead, the government has decided to help the students get fresh admission as per their eligibility by extending the time by a week. However, the Maratha community is considering challenging the apex court’s decision by filing another writ petition demanding quota in postgraduate medical studies.