CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Monday filed an appeal against the July 14 order of Madras High Court judge K Ravichandra Baabu striking down a government order (GO) issued on June 22, which provided 85 per cent reservation for State Board students and the rest for others in admission to undergraduate medical courses for 2017-18.
In its appeal filed in the high court on Monday, the State submitted that the single judge ought to have considered that even though the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET is common for all students who have studied under various boards, the question paper was prepared by the CBSE and all questions were from the CBSE syllabus. Since CBSE students had a distinct advantage, the government has no other alternative but to issue a policy GO.
State Board students and their CBSE counterparts are not equals. Hence, unequals cannot be treated as equals as per Article 14 of the Constitution. To ensure equal opportunity to the students of varying boards, normalisation has been followed till now under the TN Admission in Professional Educational Institutions Act 2006. This came into force from March 7, 2006 after the Presidential assent. Based on this Act, the State government made the admissions in medical and other professional educational institutions.
The Supreme Court, by an order dated May 2, 2016 in a civil appeal, specifically upheld the power of the states to legislate on admissions, the appeal pointed out.
Though the Union government had amended the Medical Council of India Act, 1956 and the Dentist Act,1948 for conducting NEET, the State governments had the powers to enact a separate law.
Accordingly the TN government had placed the TN Admission to MBBS and BDS Courses Bill 2017 before the Assembly, which was unanimously passed on February 1 last. It has been forwarded to the President for approval. The bill has not been rejected; it is pending, the appeal pointed out.
The single judge ought to have considered that the State government is duty-bound to make provision to protect the vast majority of State Board students covering over 95% of the students from 6,877 State Board schools who did not have access to CBSE schools, which is less than 5 per cent. They cannot be held responsible for the sudden change in the pattern of admission.
The single judge ought to have considered that NEET places the students from the State Board at a total disadvantage vis-a-vis CBSE students, as the syllabus, methodology and the content of the State Board and examination pattern are quite different. The Centre, while introducing NEET, had accepted the need for admission based on State-wise NEET merit list to protect the rights of the students in each State recognizing the different conditions prevailing in each State, the appeal added.
In the appeal, State calls itself duty-bound to make provision to protect the vast majority of State Board students covering over 95% of children who went to the 6,877 State Board schools and did not have access to CBSE schools.