New Delhi: A Madras High Court judgment quashing a Tamil Nadu government order providing 85% reservation for students from State Board, in admissions to UG medical courses, under State quota was upheld by the Supreme Court, on Friday
The Tamil Nadu government had on June 22, notified an order providing 85% reservation in the UG medical seats available in the State quota to State board syllabus students and 15% to other board students .
A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar disallowing classification by states on the applicability of NEET said that the National Eligibility Entrance(NEET) Test is meant to be uniformly applicable to all States.
“There can be no classification. How can you (Tamil Nadu) bring a law to violate the Central Act? No State has done that, why Tamil Nadu alone should do it every time. Everybody understands the law, as it should be done. It is very difficult to carve out a separate principle for you,” the Bench told the Tamil Nadu government.
Justice Misra further stated that the notification defeated the very philosophy of NEET, which is merit-based. “You cannot bring in a new classification. We do not see any merit in this appeal. Dismissed,” said Justice Misra.
The Madras High Court termed the order violative of the right to equality . The MCI during the hearing, came out in support of the Court which was against giving any favours to the state of Tamil Nadu.
“Exemption to Tamil Nadu and some other States from NEET was granted in 2016. This was because they complained that sufficient time was not given to the students to prepare for NEET,” the Council’s counsel argued.
Shekhar Naphade,the counsel for respondent, Tamil Nadu stated that the reservation policy had been introduced to empower state board students to be able to compete with their CBSE counterparts. Mr. Naphade insisted that the June 22 notification was a way to fight discrimination.
“But after appearing in NEET along with other students, they (State Board students) have become equals,” Justice Khanwilkar shot back.
Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi, Nalini Chidambaram and advocate Anushree Menon who appeared for some CBSE students, argued that the government order was discriminatory and against the very spirit of NEET.
Arguing in favour of the decision taken by the government regarding state board students, the state’s appeal stated that it was its prerogative to set policy using its discretionary powers and the court was not in a position to interfere in an executive decision unless the decision amounted to violation of a fundamental right.
The state argued that the state board students when compared to CBSE students, stood at a disadvantage, due to difference in their class 11 & 12 syllabus; more so in the case of those from the rural pockets of the country.
The June 22 notification meant to strike a balance between these two categories of students, the state appeal further added, reports the HINDU.