Chennai The Tamil Nadu government will appeal against Friday’s Madras High Court’s (HC) decision to quash the Tamil Nadu government order to reserve 85% medical (MBBS) and dental (BDS) seats in undergraduate colleges for state board students. The admissions are being done on the basis of scores of a common entrance test, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
State health minister C Vijayabaskar said the government would appeal against the single judge order . His government was opposed to NEET to protect the interests of the students from Tamil Nadu and that was why reservation was notified. “We are still against NEET and our bills are awaiting assent of the President,” he said.
The state government had through a notification rolled out the reservations last month. A mention of the same was made in the brochures issued for admissions to various undergraduate medical courses in state colleges.
Disposing of a petition challenging the June 22 notification of the state government filed by a minor, C Darnish Kumar, a CBSE student, Justice K Ravichandra Babu directed the medical colleges to consider the petitioner for all the seats available for undergraduate courses in medicine in the state for the academic year 2017-18.
The petitioner had challenged the notification saying that only the Medical Council of India (MCI) had the power to regulate medical college admissions as per the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act. The MCI had stipulated that admissions to medical courses would be based on the marks obtained in NEET and merit lists prepared on the basis of such marks and that it did not distinguish between students from CBSE and the state board.
Justice Ravichandra Babu held that the impugned reservation was bad in law and violated Art 14 of the Constitution (Equality before law). He also held that the reservation indirectly meddled with the object and process of the NEET and compromised on merits of selection.
The judge directed authorities to prepare a fresh merit list and conduct the counselling for admissions accordingly.
The state government has not been in favour of NEET. It had submitted to the court that two of its bills, passed in the state assembly exempting students from NEET, were pending with the President for assent. The advocate general (AG) of Tamil Nadu also told the HC that 88,431 students appeared for NEET, out of which only 4,675 were from CBSE. “Since NEET is the basis of admission, to ensure fair and equal opportunity to candidates from different boards, such reservation is provided in the seats available in the State quota,” the AG said.
Justice Reddy refused to accept the state government pleas and quashed the notification providing for reservations to Tamil Nadu board students in medical college undergraduate courses.