Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has upheld the state government’s decision to go ahead with its domicile policy with regard to admissions in MBBS/BDS colleges of the state,including unaided private medical colleges.The state government’s domicile policy gives priority to state students for admission.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonakon, on Monday, declined to interfere with the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET).However, the Bombay High Court has given a directive that another list be prepared carrying names of students from other states; primarily for academic interests.
These colleges are to admit students from the state who have passed their qualifying school exam from Maharashtra under the 85% quota admissions, while only 15% are to be reserved for students from outside of the state.
Based on the state’s domicile policy, admissions will now be carried out based on NEET, for all medical colleges of the state; keeping the new domicile based eligibility criterion- in mind.
The qualifying criterion for admission is that student possess a domicile certificate or to have qualified both the secondary and higher secondary examination from Maharashtra. Domicile is issued, only if an individual has resided in the state for 15 years continuously. It is to be issued by the district magistrate. The rule also sets aside 85% seats on the domicile criterion and the remaining 15% are to fall in the institutional category. The admissions in the state of Maharashtra are to be completed by September 30, a Supreme Court finalised- last date of submission.
The High Court has declined putting a stay on its own order, as sought by colleges in their petitions. This has led to the institutions deciding to move the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court ruling with regards to this.
The Maharashtra Government’s domicile rules have been challenged in the Bombay High Court by multiple litigants. These petitioners being the ones who wanted to go ahead with admissions based on NEET rankings; however, not succeeding in the face of the state government strictly adhering to the new domicile rules, overlooking NEET rankings.
One of the main petitioners Mahatma Gandhi Vidya Mandir Trust, which runs a dental college in Nashik, has sought non interference from the state government on the NRI quota issue, stating that since it does not enjoy any financial aid from the government, the latter should have no right to force implementation of the domicile criterion on them.
The state government in the course of the High Court hearing has made clear that the new domicile rules are meant in the best interests of the students of the state of Maharashtra. It argued that similar rules formulated by other states prevent students of Maharashtra from securing admission there.
Appearing for the state government, Advocate General Rohit Deo told the court, “We are accountable to the students of Maharashtra and not to the petitioners. They are giving the impression that this 15 per cent [quota] available for outside students is their right but the truth is that it is a shackle put on the state by the apex court.”
An intervention plea was also filed by students of Maharashtra who had failed to get admissions into government colleges due to low rankings and were now keen on entering private medical colleges in the state.
Counsel for the students, MM Vashi argued that domicile was different from reservation. ‘Students with state domicile should be given priority admission in their own state,’ was Vashi’s contention to the High Court.