Today's Paper

Status quo on engineering admissions

A. Subramani

Direction on SWS for management quota challenged Petitioners say consensus was only for last year

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered status quo in the matter of admission to engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu.

Counsel on both sides Advocate-General R. Viduthalai representing the Government and senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan agreed to maintain the position as on Wednesday till June 20, when the matter will come up for further hearing.

In effect, the interim order passed by Justice V. Dhanapalan means that Anna University, which is in the process of preparing the rank list, could not be published till June 20.

As for the unaided self-financing colleges, they could not commence or continue the admission process during the pendency of the petitions, which challenge a direction from the Government that these colleges admit students for management quota seats only through the single window system (SWS) or the centralised counselling system.

Four separate writ petitions have been filed by various associations of self-financing professional, arts & science colleges in Tamil Nadu, challenging the validity of a State legislation and a Government Order, directing them to follow SWS to admit students under the management quota and to allocate a certain percentage of seats for the government quota. The petitioners sought to quash three specific clauses in the Tamil Nadu Admission in Professional Educational Institutions Act 2006 and the consequential Government Order dated May 25, 2007.

Section 2(C)(iii) of the Act said 65 per cent of seats in each branch of non-minority unaided professional institutions and 50 per cent of seats in each branch in the minority institutions should be surrendered to the Government "in accordance with a consensus" arrived at between the Government and the educational institutions.

Section 4(1) asked these colleges to fill seats only on the basis of the marks obtained in the qualifying examinations. Section 5(4) said students should be admitted only through the SWS.

As for last year's seat-sharing arrangement between the Government and the colleges, they said the consensus was applicable only for the academic year 2006-07.

The consensus was not to share the seats with the Government as a permanent measure or for any fixed number of years so as to enable the Government to sustain the provision this year, they said.

"No jurisdiction"

Citing Supreme Court orders, they said the State had no jurisdiction to interfere with the rights of private unaided institutions, and to compel them to act only on the basis of the marks secured in qualifying examinations. The question of SWS would arise only where a common entrance test was held. He prayed for a stay on the operation of the order, and a declaration that the three provisions were unconstitutional.

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