Madurai: The Madras High Court has asked the state government of Tamil Nadu to define its stand on the two March 10 notifications issued by the Medical Council of India. The two notifications speak about conducting common counselling for merit based National Eligibility cum Entrance Test(NEET) for medical admissions. These admissions would be for both undergraduate and post graduate medical and dental courses in all medical institutions of the state.
Justice V. Parthiban gave a directive to the government advocate to get the Health Secretary’s instructions on the issue of counselling by Tuesday. Counselling for PG courses is scheduled to commence on April 4.
“Let us know how do you [the State government] propose to deal with the situation. We need some clarity on the issue, especially in the light of the Constitutional right of minorities, to administer educational institutions,” he told the counsel.
The judge was replying to the two writ petitions filed by the Chairman of Padanilam Welfare Trust, which runs linguistic minority educational institutions in Kanyakumari district. The petitions are challenging the validity of MCI notifications, amending Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 and Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 and introducing new provisions for conducting common counselling in every State.
Senior Counsel Isaac Mohanlal, representing the petitioner institution, alerted the court on the state government having opposed NEET completely.
“In fact, the Tamil Nadu Assembly has unanimously passed a Bill to bypass admissions in engineering and medical colleges through NEET and the proposed law is pending before the President for his assent. The State government is completely against NEET,” he said.
Replying to the judges query as to how self financing minority colleges would have gone about the task of admissions, if the MCI had not issued the present notifications, the Senior Counsel said that in that case, the colleges would enjoy the right to fill up 50% of seats in undergraduate medical courses and 100% seats in postgraduate courses. This he said would have been done by by giving due preference to minorities and without compromising on merit.
Citing the example of Christian Medical College Ludhiana Society, which had filed a case of similar nature,questioning the right of minority institutions to admit students, in view of the introduction of NEET, V.P. Raman, counsel for MCI, told the court that the case was filed even before the issuance of the latest MCI notifications. He said the legal issue raised in that case was the same as that raised in the present cases. He pointed out that the apex court had posted the case for hearing on Friday.
He also took the responsibility of obtaining instructions from the MCI by Tuesday, on how it proposes to conduct the counselling for medical admissions this year, reports the Hindu.