Reserve MBBS seat for RTE quota candidate next year: Madras HC
Madurai: In a major relief, the Madras High Court has asked the State Government to reserve a seat for a student falling under the Right to Children Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) quota. The student in question pursued her education till Standard VII in a private school under the RTE quota and intend to get MBBS admission under 7.5% Government School quota.
Addressing the mistake on the part of the Government in not providing such a column for students falling under the RTE quota, the HC bench comprising of Justice V. Parthiban in the judgment dated 01.04.2021 further mentioned, "only plausible reparation the State authorities can come forward is to make amends for their inadvertent omission in not formatting the application form providing a column for the category of students like the petitioner's daughter, enabling them to indicate their eligibility for the concessional reservation."
The case concerned an aspirant of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test [NEET]. The student is the petitioner's daughter, who studied 7th to 12th standard in the Government Higher Secondary School at Ariyoor in Tamil medium and up to 6th standard she studied in a private school being admitted against the RTE Act, 2009. So, during her studies in the private school the Government paid the requisite fees since the petitioner had come under the Below Poverty Line in terms of the said RTE Act.
Being a meritorious student the petitioner's daughter secured 539 marks out of 600 marks in 12th standard and had been given Karamaraj Award for being the best student for the academic year 2018-2019. However, during her first attempt at NEET 2018-2019, she could not secure sufficient marks and attempted the exam once again next year. This time (2019-2020), she did considerably well and secured 425 marks.
By the time the applications were made available online for the purpose of seeking admission in the medical courses in the State of Tamil Nadu, the Government had already issued the G.O dated 29.10.2020, wherein 7.5% reservation was provided for students studying in Government schools in the State of Tamil Nadu. In column 10 of the application form, no specific provision was made for indicating the students studying in a private school under RTE Act.
The petitioner contended that the benefits contemplated under Act 24 of 2020 would also include the students studied in the private institutions against the quota reserved for children admitted under RTE Act. However, due to the absence of a specific column covering the students like the petitioner's daughter to enable them to indicate their status in order to claim 7.5% preferential reservation in admission to Medical college has resulted in depriving the petitioner's daughter of her right to be conferred with the benefit contemplated in Act 24 of 2020, contended the counsel for the petitioner.
On the other hand, although the Additional Advocate General, representing the State, sympathized with the student's claims he further submitted that nothing could be done on the date when the matter was being heard by the High Court in view of the completion of the entire medical admission process for the present academic year.
After listening to all the contentions by both the parties, the High Court opined that the petitioner's daughter admittedly deserved to be extended the benefit of the preferential right to the extent of 7.5% in terms of Act 24 of 2020. However, her benefit was denied and it unjustly snatched away her valuable opportunity of gaining admission in the Government Medical College.
"The authorities, who had been in charge of the formatting the application, have unfortunately not foreseen the plight of the candidates like the petitioner's daughter herein, who had studied in private schools under RTE Act, up to certain level and the remaining part of the education in the Government Schools," observed the HC bench.
Mentioning that the "dream and hope of the student to become a medical professional could not be allowed to be nipped in the bud in the face of fault of the authorities for not having clearly framed or formulated the application form" Justice Parthiban further stated, "No amount of consolation from the State authorities could compensate the loss suffered by the petitioner's daughter at the crucial stage of higher educational pursuits."
Reminding that the Government is "under moral and legal obligation to consider the petitioner's daughter's admission on priority basis in the following academic year by extending the benefit of 7.5% reservation under Act 24 of 2020," the HC judgment further mentioned that "the authorities are directed to explore the possibilities and consider the claim of the petitioner's daughter by extending the benefit of 7.5% reservation without any further delay."
"In case for the present year, it is not possible, in view of the closure of the admission process, the respondents are directed to reserve a seat for the petitioner's daughter in her category namely Backward Muslim (BCM) and provide her admission for the next academic year on a priority basis in medical courses in terms of her overall standing in the merit list against the preferential admission category, if the petitioner's daughter is interested in taking up the course to be offered to her, still," directed the HC bench.
To view the original High Court order, click on the link below.