HYDERABAD: In the interest of scores of medical education aspirants, a division bench of the High Court on Thursday vacated the stay granted by it on August 17 this year with regard to admissions to superspeciality (DM/MCH) courses in colleges affiliated to NTR and KNR universities of health sciences in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states respectively. The bench made it clear that the ‘open category’ seats in the above courses will be filled based upon NEET ranking and all-India level competition. With regard to the main issue of applicability of Article 371-D and the Presidential Order to the institutions in both the states in the light of bifurcation of erstwhile AP, it will be decided in final hearing on Sept 11.
“In fact, the interim order (stay) sought by some of the petitioners on the basis of Article 371-D has actually boomeranged upon their own brethren of the very states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana”, the bench of justices V Ramasubramanian and T Rajani observed. One batch of petitioners contended that admission to professional courses in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were governed by the Presidential Order issued in exercise of the power conferred under Article 371-D of the Constitution. Since these Presidential Orders to have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other part of the Constitution, the respondents were not entitled to conduct a common counselling at the national level, for the seats coming within the control of these two universities.
The Presidential Order, Article 371-D and the 1979 Circular specify that 85 pc of non-statewide seats shall be reserved in favour of local candidates and the remaining 15 pc seats are to be treated as unreserved seats for the non-state candidates who have qualified in the entrance test.Another batch of petitioners, whose admissions to various colleges located in other parts of the country were cancelled by the National Board of Examinations pursuant to the order of stay granted by the High Court, wanted the 15 pc seats be open for all the students in the country based on NEET ranking so that students from AP and Telangana can get seats in other states.
The bench, in its common order, cited the Supreme Court judgment in Dr Pradeep Jain case where it had made it clear that in admission to postgraduate medical courses, excellence cannot be allowed to be compromised by any other considerations as that would be detrimental to the interests of the nation. It also traced the history of formation of Andhra in 1953 and then formation of AP after the merger of Telangana, coastal and Rayalseema (ceded) districts.
“As a matter of fact, as rightly predicted by the Supreme Court in the Pradeep Jain case, a large chunk of students in AP and Telangana states have now become victims of the very benefit for which they fought and got over 40 years ago. If ‘x’ number of seats are available in all statewide educational institutions and state-wide universities in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the opportunities available in the rest of the country for the eligible students of Andhra and Telangana are many times more than that figure.”
“Therefore, holding on to Article 371-D and the Presidential Order has today proved to be more of a liability than of an asset,” the bench noted.Stating that though the stay granted earlier was beneficial to a few individuals, it has caused immense hardship to scores of candidates who have secured admission to the said courses in other states, the bench vacated the stay by applying the rule of balance of convenience and irreparable hardship.