Centre opposes separate quota for Govt school students for MBBS admissions, says will dilute NEET merit
Chennai: Stating that NEET merit will be diluted, the Central Government has informed Madras High Court that providing reserving medical seats exclusively for the Government school students would not be desirable. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has further informed that any such horizontal reservation could create abnormal incentives and affect the pre-medical education.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare further questioned the legislative authority of the State Government to enact such laws. The centre has further claimed that any such horizontal reservation would undo the reform of merit-based medical admission via NEET.
Justice B Pugalendhi heard the reply of the Union Ministry and adjourned the case to February 25 for further hearing.
The move came after a Puducherry-based student Subulakshmi filed a petition before the court and sought a direction to the Union Government for approving the scheme of the introduction of 10% horizontal reservations for students from government schools for admission to medical courses within the Union Territory of Puducherry.
The Puducherry cabinet approved of the exclusive reservation. However, when the matter had been forwarded to the lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi, she referred it to the Central Government mentioning that she differed with the view of Puducherry Government regarding the matter,
The plea moved by the student claimed that the Central Government had been making delays on the reference made on November 6, 2020. The plea further sought a direction to the Central Government for the approval of the reservation,
Central Government had filed the reply through Ravi Ranjan, deputy commandant, ministry of home affairs on Thursday. The reply had been submitted by the Additional Solicitor General of India R Sankaranarayanan.
Union Government also denied the allegations that the reference had been kept pending for an indefinite time period. Mentioning that the Central Government had acted promptly on the reference made by LG and CM, the reply stated that the Union Government had sought inter-ministerial consultations for making an informed decision, adds TOI.
The Hindu adds that the views of the Union Health Ministry and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had also been taken into account.
The reply by the Union Government, noted, "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 ministry further informed that any decision taken by the State Government regarding medical education would be subject to centre's power to determine the minimum standard.
Mentioning that the introduction of NEET in 2016 had been for merit-based medical admission, the reply added, NEET, by providing uniform national standards follow the principle of one nation one merit. Thus a separate quota for the students of government schools, as proposed by the Union territory cabinet would dilute the merit of the NEET examination, stated the reply,
The centre further mentioned that such reservation may lead to similar or other demands from other states, the reply mentioned that such demands would go against the merit-based medical education and undo it.
The Union Ministry added, "Any horizontal reservation is likely to create abnormal incentives/disincentives affecting pre-medical education which will not be desirable. Also, this may lead to similar/other demands from other States."
The Central Government further pointed out, as reported by TOI, the 7.5% reservation for Government school students in Tamil Nadu had been provided through State Government without any reference made to the Union Ministry.
The advocate for the petitioner argued that the Central Government had been belittling the 7.5% reservations adopted in Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has urged the HC for a grant of a few week's time to report further progress regarding the matter after due consultation with the DoPT.
Accepting the request, the HC has adjourned the case to February 25 for further hearing.