New Delhi: Apprehending that Tamil Nadu government will promulgate an ordinance and commence the medical admission process on the basis of higher secondary marks, the Supreme Court on Thursday barred the state from making any medical admissions till August 22.
A three-judge Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitav Roy and A.M. Kanwilkar passed this order on a batch of petitions seeking a direction to the State to release the Neet rank lists and commence the admission process. The Bench made it clear to the state that Neet marks cannot be given a go-bye as students had been preparing for this examination for more than a year.
Justice Misra said “it is a human problem. We can’t allow the State to completely disregard the Neet. A balance has to be struck keeping in mind the interests of State Board students to be admitted on the basis of higher secondary marks in the event of an ordinance and those who had cleared the Neet examination and waiting for admissions.”
Senior counsel Nalini Chidambaram, appearing for a batch of students, informed the bench that the state should not be allowed to promulgate the ordinance and admit students on the basis of Plus- 2 marks. She said the claim of rural students was a bogey being raised by the state as in the last 10 years only 250 students had been admitted to medical courses.
The Bench took note of the submissions of senior counsel Vikas Singh for the Medical Council of India that the ordinance was illegal and Tamil Nadu should not be granted any exemption from Neet this year as sufficient time had already been given. Senior counsel Shekar Naphade for Tamil Nadu said the state can’t be prevented from coming out with the ordinance in the interests of State Board students.
When Justice Misra wanted to know as to how NEET students could be denied admissions, counsel said any law passed by the legislature is bound to affect some sections. The Bench rejected this submission and favoured a balanced approach and questioned as to why Tamil Nadu woke up at the last minute.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that the draft ordinance given by Tamil Nadu had been cleared by the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and the law ministry. The ordinance is expected to be promulgated by the State by Tuesday, August 22 after the Home Ministry forwards it to the Tamil Nadu Governor. The Bench told the ASG "it is the responsibility of the Centre not to demolish NEET which has come to stay as a merit based admission process."
Taking note of the submissions, the bench in a brief order said, "We have been apprised that an Ordinance is likely to be promulgated. We have asked Mr. Shekhar Naphade, senior counsel appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu and Mr. Vikas Singh, senior counsel appearing for the Medical Council of India, to consider how a balanced situation can be thought of so that the students who have come from the State Board and have not been equipped to appear in NEET.