CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday wondered whether the central government is indirectly trying to impose its reservation policy on colleges and universities in Tamil Nadu through central scholarships. The court also suo motu impleaded the University Grants Commission and ordered the central government to file a detailed report on the reservation rule by Tuesday.
The court was hearing a plea relating to the central government’s insistence that Anna University follow only 49.5% reservation and not Tamil Nadu's 69% quota policy in the admissions to M Tech Biotech and MTech Computational Biology courses. This is because these courses are run under the central government's scholarships. Due to the difference on this issue between the central and state governments, the university has suspended admissions for the courses.
On Monday, when the plea moved by R Chitra came up for hearing before Justice B Pugalendhi, it was submitted by the counsel for All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) that Anna University should have admitted 45 students in the courses before December 31, 2020, and it is too late now.
Special Government Pleader E Manoharan for the state contended that AICTE has no role in the admission to the two courses.
Justice Pugalendhi in its reply lamented, "When the Centre had permitted Anna University to fill the seats, you should have followed the state government's reservation policy."
"What is the necessity for having written to the state government seeking clarification on which reservation policy to follow?" asked the judge.
The central government's counsel in his reply contended that there are a total of eight institutions across the state that run nine courses, which are sponsored by the central government. The counsel argued that all the institutions follow the central government reservation rule of 49.5 percent and the courses have been going on for several years now.
Irked by the replies by the central government counsel, the judge said, "It appears that the central government is indirectly pressing the state universities to follow the Centre's reservation rule for its sponsored courses. We are going to record this in our order."
The state also said that under UGC guidelines, only state government policy must be followed by individual universities in the state.
The judge said that the admissions this year was suspended because of Centre's communication to Anna University to follow its reservation policy.
The court recording the submissions ordered the central government counsel to seek clear instructions on how it can insist that state colleges and universities follow its rule of reservation by Tuesday.