7.5 percent Reservation to Govt school students into MBBS course: Madras HC seeks response from Centre
Chennai: Following the challenges and the plea that had been made against the 7.5% horizontal reservation in Medical admissions for Government school students, the Madras High Court (HC) has asked for the Centre's stand on the matter. A bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy has directed the Centre to file its reply within four weeks.
This comes after senior counsel Sriram Panchu, representing a writ petitioner who had challenged the law, made a plea at the Madras HC. Following this, the State Government submitted an affidavit to defend the law. After receiving the copy of that counter-affidavit, senior counsel Rev. Fr. Xavier Arulraj on behalf of the writ petitioner requested the court for two weeks for filing a rejoinder. Accepting the plea, the judges adjourned the next hearing by four weeks.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the Tamil Nadu Assembly had unanimously passed the bill providing a 7.5 percent quota within the existing reservation in MBBS, BDS, and AYUSH courses for government school students. It would be applicable for students clearing the NEET exam.
As per the latest media report by The Hindu, during the hearing of the plea made by senior counsel Sriram Panchu, the State Government had filed a 76-page counter-affidavit, defending the law.
The daily adds that the Government had mentioned of its legislative powers to Article 246(2), read with Entry 25 of List III concurrent list) of the seventh schedule to the Constitution, as well as Articles 15 and 46, and asserted that Article 15(1) implicitly had provided for reservation to weaker classes (special category).
Special Government Pleader E. Manoharan, while filing the counter, stated that, 435 of the 5,567 MBBS and BDS seats were allotted to government school students for the academic year 2020-21 on the basis of the Act. The aim of the Act had been to uplift the students who belonged to the weaker socio-economic backgrounds.
Mentioning that the State Government had full potential to pass legislation that provides horizontal reservation, the TN Government in its response asserted, "Government school students form a distinct and special category/class by themselves due to their economic, social and educational backwardness," adds the Hindu.
Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan, while filing the affidavit on the behalf of the Chief Secretary, described how the students who attended the Government schools had been found to be socially, educationally, and economically backward. Mention had been made about a report submitted by the retired High Court judge P. Kalaiyarasan in this matter, adds the Hindu.
The Government had further stated, "Their [government school students'] cognitive abilities have also been found to be 15 months behind students hailing from socio-economically forward backgrounds." Along with this, the Government argued that the aim of the law had been to provide a level-playing field for all students, adds the daily.