The Madras High Court on Thursday granted an interim stay of operation, so far as it related to Tamil Nadu, of two notifications of regulations of the Medical Council of India (MCI) of December last year, prescribing eligibility-cum-entrance tests for selection to MBBS and postgraduate medical education. Justice P. Jyothimani passed the interim order on writ petitions filed by the Tamil Nadu government seeking to declare the notifications as ab initio null and void. He ordered notice on the petitions.

In his affidavit, the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, V.K. Subburaj, submitted that Tamil Nadu had already enacted legislation in 2007 as per which admission to government seats in professional educational institutions was made by the appropriate authority based on the marks obtained by students in the relevant subjects in the qualifying examination.

A direction had also been issued to the Consortium of Unaided Professional Educational Institutions to admit students in unaided professional educational institutions on the basis of the marks obtained in the relevant subjects in the qualifying examination. Therefore, merit played an important role in the selection of candidates. The selection process to professional colleges was being successfully implemented. There were no complaints from any quarter.

The petitioner said the MCI notifications had been issued without considering the objections by Tamil Nadu. Further, the notifications ran contrary to the State Act of 2007. In the absence of the Centre's approval, the regulations were ab initio void and liable to be set aside.

Though the Centre directed the MCI to withdraw the notifications, the council had not taken any step. Further, the notifications suffered from serious legal infirmity of lack of legislative competence and jurisdiction and of unreasonableness.

The council had not provided opportunity to State Governments before amending and notifying the regulations. There was an ex facie unreasonableness in holding a single entrance test throughout the country as there were different streams of education in different States.

The council was keen on implementing the regulations. This had created confusion in students. Strongly opposing the regulations, Additional Advocate-General P. Wilson argued that the regulations virtually uprooted the State Act of 2007 which was not permissible.