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The Supreme Court on Wednesday did away with the ‘merit only’ requirement for the ‘all India quota’ for postgraduate seats in government medical colleges by ordering 22.5% reservations for SC/STs from the academic year 2007-08, reports Our Political Bureau from New Delhi. A bench headed by chief justice K G Balakrishnan permitted the ministry of health to go ahead with selection of candidates according to the scheme suggested by it. The government had come out with the decision to provide 15% and 7.5% reservation to SCs and STs, respectively, in the all-India quota of 50% for PG medical seats. With the implementation of this reservation quota, the number of seats for open competition under the all-India quota will come down from 3,085 to 2,391 with 694 seats being reserved for the SC/STs. The Centre had expressed difficulty in granting quotas to SC/ST candidates during the last academic session in the wake of the apex court’s direction in February 2005 that 50% of the all-India quota should be exclusive of any reservations. While allowing 22.5 % reservation in the all India quota, the court on Wednesday said the February 2005 direction would not affect the academic session 2007-08. The admission process to the PG courses during the last academic session had been thrown into confusion as the apex court had, in an interim order, allowed 10% reservation to be given to SC/STs. This was later vacated after the centre gave an undertaking that it would address the issue. Before arriving at the decision, the ministry of health had examined the several options given by additional solicitorgeneral Gopal Subramanian on the issue. The government held that reservation for SC/STs in all-India quota from 2007-08 would not only be beneficial to SCs/STs of the states but also to SCs/STs from other parts of the country.

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