Quick decision on 7.5 % quota needed, says HC

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday hoped that the Governor would take a decision at the earliest with regard to the Bill on implementing 7.5% horizontal reservation for government school students, who cleared National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET), in medical admissions.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi made the remark while hearing a batch of public interest litigation petitions which sought a direction to the State to implement reservation for government school students as recommended by the commission headed by retired High Court Judge P. Kalaiyarasan.

The Bench was informed by Advocate General Vijay Narayan that the Governor needed three to four weeks to take a decision on the Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Courses in Medicine, Dentistry, Indian Medicine and Homeopathy on Preferential Basis to the Students of Government Schools Bill, 2020.

When the judges asked why there was a delay in taking a decision in this regard, the Advocate General referring to Article 361 of the Constitution submitted that protection had been given to the constitutional authority and the Governor was not answerable to any court for exercise and performance of his powers and duties.

The judges observed that, “No doubt Article 361 gives protection to the constitutional authority. However, in the given circumstances, a decision has to be taken, taking into consideration the future of the government school students, who are invariably from marginalised and poor sections, as soon as possible as provided under Article 200 of the Constitution of India (Assent to Bills).”

The court observed that the Bill was unanimously passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly on September 15 and sent for assent to the Governor the same day. However, it was pending for almost two months.

On October 16, NEET results were published. Though it was claimed that around 400-500 students from government schools cleared NEET, the reality was that only single-digit number of students would be qualified for admission to medical courses as per the committee report. Since the introduction of NEET in 2017, only 14 students from government schools got admission to medical courses, the judges said.

“When.. present kind of situation arises, a different approach has to be taken by the courts in the interest of the public. It is well settled law that ‘extraordinary situation requires extraordinary remedies’. When public interest requires, this court has to do its constitutional duties and address the situation. However, this court is of the opinion that such a situation would not arise to pass any order in this matter,” the judges said.

The case was adjourned till November 2.

Earlier, the government informed the court that until a decision was taken by the Governor, the prospectus for admissions would not be issued.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:01:23 PM |

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