Today's Paper

House unites to pass Bill on medical colleges

To bypass SC order annulling admissions

The Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a Bill regularising the controversial admission of 180 students to the 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 a one-off bipartisan law to save the future of the NEET-qualified students who 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.

Flawed process

The Minister said the flawed process had occurred when the admission to professional colleges was in transition from the State entrance list to NEET.

The colleges ignored the orders of the regulatory committee and admitted students.

The colleges had refused to cooperate with the government in the admission process or concede 50% of their seats to State merit and violated the law that prohibited capitation fee and exploitative tuition charges. The students realised that the colleges had cheated them when the Supreme Court threw out the management’s prayer to regularise the admissions they had illegally conducted.

Fine proposed

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 Rs. 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. Balram 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. Balram differred with Mr. Chennithala on the matter. Muslim League lawmaker P. K. Basheer said his party was for the Bill and could not agree with Mr. Balram 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.

Recommended for you