Indore: Days after an order issued by the principal Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court in Jabalpur, the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission has declared a list of 495 medical officers selected against 632 vacancies lying vacant in the department of public health and family welfare. These medical officers will now be appointed in different government hospitals across the state. The appointments will be a shot in the arm for state government ahead of any possible Covid-19 third wave.
On behalf of the health department, the MPPSC had advertised 866 posts of medical officers, reserving 27 per cent of the posts for candidates belonging to the OBC category.
Interviews for filling the posts were mainly held from June 1-12, but the selection list could not be declared following petitions challenging the increase in the OBC quota from 14 per cent to 27 per cent.
Citing the second wave of Covid-19 and fearing a likely third wave, applications were moved in the high court by the state government and the MPPSC requesting the release of the list of candidates selected against medical officers’ posts and their appointments.
Through an order dated January 31, 2020, the high court had permitted MPPSC to go ahead with selection process, but added that the same would not be finalised and no appointments would be made without prior permission of the court.
Therefore, the state government and the MPPSC moved the high court some months ago, seeking permission for appointments of medical officers. The government and the MPPSC, apprehending a likely third wave of Covid-19, had requested that appointments of medical officers be allowed.
In its order dated July 13, 2021, the high court allowed the state government, as well as the MPPSC to go ahead with the process of selection and publish the list of all the categories, including reservation to the extent of only 14 per cent for OBC candidates and proceed accordingly to issue appointments to the posts of medical officers.
Following the high court’s order, the MPPSC reduced the number of vacant posts from 866 to 632 and released the list of candidates selected for medical officers’ posts. The MPPSC has kept on hold selections to 234 posts belonging to the OBC category.
Provisional appointments of EWS
The petitions had also challenged the reservation of 10 per cent provided to the candidates of the economically weaker sections (EWS), which, if added to the overall percentage of reservations, including 27 per cent reservation provided to OBCs, the total reservation would far exceed the limit of 50 per cent, thus taking the total reservations to as high as 73 per cent in contravention of the ratio determined by a constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court.
The government had submitted that reservations provided to EWS stood on a different footing than the reservations provided to OBCs as it had the backing of Articles 15(6) and 16(6) and, therefore, the two could not be equated.
After hearing all the parties, the high court ruled, that a stipulation might be made in the appointment order of the candidates appointed against the posts reserved for the EWS category that their appointment shall be provisional, subject to the final outcome of the writ petitions.