SC orders status quo on admission to medical courses in TN
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that there could be no "compromise on intellect" as it ordered status quo on admissions to undergraduate medical courses in Tamil Nadu.
"You can't compromise on intellect," said the bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M.Khanwilkar also saying "no" to state government's plea that it wanted to accommodate students from "rural background" who were not that good.
"You can't compromise on intellect. You say you want to adjust students (who are) not good. No," Justice Misra said, "Our moto has to be whatever we say or do, students who have laboured hard and appeared in NEET should not suffer."
"How do you adjust people who appeared in NEET? We are concerned about young students. What is the future of students who appeared in NEET? How do you strike a balance between rural students and NEET," the bench asked the Tamil Nadu government in series of posers.
Having ordered status quo, the court directed the listing of matter for further hearing on Tuesday.
Telling the State government that it "procrastinated the whole thing", Justice Misra said: "You can't put NEET at disadvantage. You are a state. You are a welfare state. You have shown your concern for rural students. NEET was introduced. You must show us how many people will be left out and how many will be in.
"It seems to be a piquant situation. We don't want any student to suffer."
The court ordered status quo as it was told that Tamil Nadu government wanted to promulgate an ordinance to get over the NEET for admission to undergraduate medical courses.
"You can't demolish NEET," the bench said as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central government, informed the court that after taking legal opinion on the Tamil Nadu ordinance, the Law Ministry has cleared it.
He told the court that the ordinance was in conformity with entry 25 dealing with education including technical and medical education under the Concurrent List of the Constitution.
But the bench was not swayed. "That does not mean that you will demolish the NEET, Mr. Mehta", it said.
The court said that there has to a balance between the students who appeared in NEET and succeeded and those from "rural background" sought to adjusted by the Tamil Nadu government by bringing the ordinance.
Besides ordering status quo, the court directed the TN government to file the list of candidates from Tamil Nadu who succeeded in NEET, and how many students who appeared State Education Board and have qualified the NEET.
Defending the state's decision to bring ordinance to adjust students from rural areas who did not have the advantage of private coaching enjoyed by students from urban areas, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade said that state government could not be prevented from bringing or enacting a law.
He said that any law would always be to the disadvantage of some people.
However, senior counsel Nalini Chidambram, appearing for the petitioners seeking the publication of NEET result in the state, said that students from rural areas was a "bogey" as there were only a handful of such students.
Noting that of the 33,000 successful candidates in the NEET, 30,000 were from State Education Board, she asked how would the state identify who was rural.
Senior counsel Vikas Singh, appearing for the Medical Council of India, supported her position, saying that the bogey of rural students was being raised to circumvent the orders of the court.
He said that as it is, the state has not carried out first and second round of counselling.