Chennai: The Madras High Court dismissed appeals by the Tamil Nadu government and others against a single judges order quashing reservation of 85 per cent seats for state board students in medical courses.
A division bench of justices Nooty Ramamohana Rao and M Dhandapani upheld the July 14 order of Justice K Ravichandrabaabu quashing the government order reserving 85 per cent seats for state board students and 15 per cent for those of other boards, including the CBSE.
The bench also directed the state government to take necessary steps expeditiously from now on to accomplish the task of filling up of the seats in MBBS and BDS courses before the August 31 deadline.
According to the earlier schedule, the merit list for medical courses was to be published on July 14 and the counselling to start three days later.
Allowing petitions by some students of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Justice Ravichandrabaabu had held that the June 22 government order amounted to discrimination among equals.
Challenging this, the state government and some students had filed the appeals.
In its appeal, the state government had submitted that the single judge ought to have considered that even though the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) was common for all, most of the questions were based on CBSE syllabus and there was an inequality.
Therefore, there was an advantage to the CBSE students over those belonging to the state board, the government contended, adding hence it had no other alternative but to take a policy decision in the matter.
Dismissing the appeals, the division bench referred to some Supreme Court judgement and held that the classification attempted by the impugned policy decision was “an unrealistic and artificial one lacking any nexus to the object sought to be achieved”.
“We are of the opinion that these appeals lack merit and they deserve to be dismissed,” it added.
The bench also recorded its order that the factual analysis of the case had brought forth the unequal distribution and non-availability of infrastructural facilities in equal measure across the entire state.
Most of the students, it looked like, were made to fend for themselves. No responsibility was shared by instructors for the rapid fall of standards of the students, in spite of being well paid for, it said.
“This malady has to be addressed and redressed by the state government by taking meaningful and substantive measures by creating a check on the failure of performance of duties and fixation of responsibilities on the teachers and failure on their part to improve upon the lot of students,” the court said.
It also said the best among the teachers should be appropriately rewarded.
Stating that the state had an obligation to ensure that a competent academic body of academicians shall periodically undertake a review of the syllabus, it suggested “The state shall also endeavour to ensure that all the students get their knowledge updated by constant revision of the syllabus prescribed by the State.”