Exclusive quota for govt school students in medical admission dilutes NEET merit, Centre informs Madras high court
CHENNAI: Providing an exclusive reservation for government school students in medical admission ‘will not be desirable,’ the central government has informed the Madras high court.
“Any artificial horizontal reservation is likely to create abnormal incentives/disincentives affecting pre-medical education…” the Union ministry of home affairs has said.
The submission was made in response to a plea moved by a student seeking a direction to the Union government to approve the scheme of introduction of 10% horizontal reservations for students from government schools within the Union territory of Puducherry for admissions to medical courses.
Though the Puducherry cabinet approved the exclusive reservation and forwarded the same to lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi, she in turn referred the matter to the central government on the ground that she differed with the view of the elected Puducherry government.
Claiming that the central government is sitting on the reference made on November 6, 2020 without taking a decision, the present plea has been moved seeking a direction to the Centre to approve the reservation.
When the plea came up for hearing before Justice B Pugalendhi on Thursday, a limited reply was filed by the Centre through Ravi Ranjan, deputy commandant, ministry of home affairs.
Denying that the reference is kept pending indefinitely, the reply said this ministry had acted promptly on the reference made by the LG and the CM of Puducherry and had sought inter-ministerial consultations for taking an informed decision.
“It is pertinent to mention here that the ministry of health vide an office memorandum dated December 10, 2020 while disagreeing with the proposal for granting horizontal reservation to students from government schools in the state quota seats in admission to medical courses conveyed that medical education is under concurrent list,” the reply said.
NEET provides uniform national standards imbibing the principle of one nation one merit. The proposed legislation by the Union territory cabinet diluted the merit of NEET by providing a separate quota for students of government schools, it added.
Asserting that such reservation may lead to similar or other demands from other states, it said such demands would undo the reform of the merit-based admission, the Centre said.
It further pointed out that the 7.5% reservation provided for government school students to medical admission in Tamil Nadu had been provided through legislation enacted by the state government and that no reference had been made to the Centre for information/concurrence in the matter.
Taking a strong exception to the counter filed by the Centre, senior advocate P Wilson for the petitioner contended that central government was belittling the 7.5% reservations adopted in Tamil Nadu.
Since the Centre sought further time to take a decision on the reference made, the judge adjourned the hearing to February 25.