House passes Bill on Karuna, Kannur medical colleges admission

To bypass Supreme Court order annulling admissions

The Kerala Legislative Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a Bill regularising the controversial admission of 180 students to Karuna and Kannur self-financing private medical colleges in 2016-17.

Health Minister K.K. Shyalaja said the Kerala Professional Colleges (Regularisation of Admission in Medical Colleges) Bill 2018 was one-off bipartisan legislation to save the future of the NEET qualified students.

The students had found their prospects imperilled after the Supreme Court upheld the State Admission Supervisory Committee decision to annul their admissions after it found that the colleges had conducted the process in an opaque and illegal manner.

The Minister said the flawed process had occurred when the admission to professional colleges was in transition from State entrance list to NEET. The colleges had refused to cooperate with the government in the admission process or concede 50% of their seats to State merit. They violated the law that prohibited capitation fee and exploitative tuition charges. The colleges ignored the orders of the regulatory committee and admitted students.

The students realised the colleges had cheated them when the Supreme Court threw out the management’s prayer to regularise the admissions they had illegally conducted.

The plight of the children and their parents prompted the government and Opposition to reach a consensus that a law was required to disentangle the students from the legal quagmire caused by the greed of the college owners. The legislation proposed a fine of ₹3 lakh for every student admitted by the colleges.

Dissenting voice

The passage of the Bill was not without dissent and drama. Congress legislators P. T. Thomas and V. T. Balaram doubted whether the Assembly had the Constitutional mandate to pass legislation that would effectively annul the SC’s decision cancelling the medical admissions.

However, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala took the position that the Bill need to be adopted in the larger interests of the students. He refuted the allegation that the government and the Opposition had joined hands to save the errant college managements. CPI (M) legislator E. P. Jayarajan doubted whether Mr. Thomas and Mr. Balaram differred with Mr. Ramesh on the matter. IUML lawmaker P. K. Basheer said his party was for the Bill and could not agree with Mr. Balaram at all times.

Ms. Shyalaja replied that the legislation reflected the spirit of SC judgment. It was not conceived to validate similar violations in the future, and Mr. Balaram’s point of order did not stand legal scrutiny.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 8:00:22 PM |

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