Kerala HC Stays ESIC Decision To Cancel IP Quota In Medical, Dental Colleges

Thiruvananthapuram: The decision taken by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to cancel the IP Quota has been stayed by Kerala High Court. It also stayed the further proceedings pursuant to the notice issued by ESIC, informing that seats filled up in previous years under IP quota in ESIC Medical/Dental colleges would be filled up by DGHS, Government of India as All-India quota seats for 2020-21.

The direction came following a petition moved by the applicants for Wards of Insured Persons (IP) Quota seats in ESIC Medical/Dental colleges (Employees State Insurance Corporation) for academic session 2020-21, aggrieved by the notice dated 28.09.2020 issued by ESIC.

The notice informed that seats filled up in previous years under IP quota in ESIC Medical/Dental colleges would be filled up by DGHS, Government of India as All-India quota seats for 2020-21.

A couple of days later, the Corporation issued another notice informing the decision to cancel IP Quota in view of the common order by the Madras High Court and the Apex Court.

However, the petitioners contended that neither of the above-mentioned courts enables ESIC to cancel or abolish the IP Quota in ESIC Medical/ Dental colleges.

The petitioners submitted that a single bench judge of the Madras high court declared the reservation policy of ESIC providing 20% reservation to the Wards of Insured Persons as unconstitutional and illegal.

Further, the Division Bench of the High Court disposed of the writ appeal preferred by the Director-General of ESIC recording the undertaking of the Additional Solicitor General of India that the ESIC shall immediately undertake the admission process in accordance with the relevant rules provided by the reservation of 20% of seats to the Wards of Insured Persons in the medical colleges established by the ESIC.

Advocate C Unnikrishnan for the petitioners further argued that the judgment by the division bench has “become final since the same has not been challenged before the Apex Court nor it has been reviewed by the Hon’ble Madras High Court thus the order of the learned single bench is not in existence as of now since the same is merged with the judgment of the learned Division Bench. Therefore, the legal position as of now is that none of the judgment and orders referred to by the ESIC has any impact on the decision taken to cancel/abolish IP Quota as per notice dated 28.09.2020. Therefore, both the notices issued by ESIC are liable to be quashed.”

The petitioners further pointed out that since no reason was stated in Exhibit P1 to cancel or abolish IP Quota in ESIC Dental/Medical college, the order is cryptic and non-speaking coupled with the fact that Exhibit P2 notice issued in continuation with Exhibit P1 notice is also not supporting the decision informed in Exhibit P1. Therefore, on that ground also Exhibit P1 is liable to be quashed.

To clarify;

Exhibit P1 – Notice issued by Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) informing that seats filled up in previous years under IP quota in ESIC Medical/Dental colleges would be filled up by DGHS, Government of India as All-India quota seats for 2020-21)

Exhibit P2 – Decision was taken by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to cancel the IP Quota

Furthermore, the petitioners pointed out that the allotment of seats to ESIC management quota is only to the Wards of the Insured Persons and thus it was only extending the benefit to the economically weaker sections of the Wards of Insured Persons by who’s funding the educational institutions were running thus its policy was not discriminatory and violative of any provisions of law and had introduced this policy after the approval of the government. Therefore;

“ESIC cannot casually abolish the medical seats under IP quota to his whims and fancies because the beneficiaries of that scheme are the downtrodden working class and the ESI medical institutions were established with the funds of these employees.”

“The action of ESIC in the scrapping of the 20% reservation policy for the wards of the insured without any reasoning and basis is arbitrary, illegal, and irregular,” the petitioners added.

Subsequently, the petitioners sought an interim relief and prayed that the court stays all further proceedings pursuant to Exhibit P1 and P2 forthwith, pending disposal of the Writ Petition. It pleaded;

  1. Call for the records relating to the Exhibit P1 and P2 impugned notice and issue a writ of Certiorari or other appropriate writs, order or direction quashing Exts.P1 and P2.
  2. Declare that Exts.P1 and P2 are illegal, cryptic, and non-speaking and cannot be allowed to stand in the eye of law.
  3. Issue a writ of Mandamus or other appropriate writs, order or direction commanding the respondents to allot Medical /Dental UG seats to the petitioners in the 20% seats of Wards of Insured person quota on the basis of their merit in the NEET ranked list2020.

The court while examining the issue, noted that the learned Standing Counsel for ESI Corporation submitted that Ext. P5 (Dated 06.08.2019) should be treated as confined to the year 2019 admissions only the Single Bench Judgment of the Madras HC (Dated 07.06.2019) was in operation.

The Counsel further submitted that a clarification petition had been filed by the ESI Corporation in the said Writ Appeal and orders are awaited.

The court observed;

“The Division Bench of the High Court of Madras (Dated 06.08.2019) decided the issue involved in the Writ Appeal based on the submission made by ESI Corporation through the Additional Solicitor General of India. Prima facie, what is stated in Ext.P5 (Dated 06.08.2019) cannot be treated as for the academic year 2019 alone.”

In the facts of the case, the bench of Justice N. Nagaresh finally held,

“It is of the opinion that if an interim order is not passed, the reservation benefits due to the Wards of Insured Persons which were in existence hitherto, will be denied. In the circumstances, there will be an interim stay on all further proceedings pursuant to Exts.P1 and P2. It is made clear that the respondents may bring up this writ petition in case the Division Bench of the High Court of Madras gives any clarification/passes any order in this regard.”

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