Apex court slams Tamil Nadu government over medical entrance


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Thursday criticised the Tamil Nadu government for making last-minute changes in its admission rules for state-run medical colleges, thereby depriving some students who were studying in other colleges from taking admission.

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A bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan pulled up the state government while staying a July 10 order of the Madras High Court order banning over 400 students, who were pursuing professional courses in other colleges of the state from participating in the counselling for admissions to medical colleges for the new academic year.

The high court passed the order after the state's advocate general said that the government would strike down the rule allowing these students to compete for admissions.

Upset by the government's approach on the issue, an irate chief justice went said that the government's action was tantamount to "stifling the education" in the state.

"By doing this you are stifling the education," said the chief justice adding: "Everyone has the right to get admission in a medical college. How can you deny this right?"

"There is a huge disparity between the fee of the government colleges and private colleges, particularly for medical courses. How can you deprive the students of their chances in a government college?" he asked.

"Don't stretch the provision of the constitution too far to deny the rights of the citizens," he snapped.

The bench, which also had Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice Dalveer Bhandari on it, allowed the affected students to participate in the second round of counselling for admission from Monday.

The bench, however, said that the students already admitted to medical colleges after the first round of counselling between July 9 and 16 will not be affected by its order.

The apex court's order follows a petition by eight Tamil Nadu students, who had taken admission last year in other private colleges after they failed to get admission in state-run medical colleges.

When the state began admissions for 2007-08, the students again took the entrance test.

Out of around 1,500 students who made it to the merit list in the entrance test, around 400 were those who had taken admission in professional courses in other colleges.

Some students who had taken the entrance test for the first time moved the Madras High Court saying that by admitting students who had already taken the test a year ago and were pursuing courses elsewhere to the new session, the seats in the other colleges vacated by them would go waste.

Allowing their petition, the high court had asked the government to change the rule to deny the old students admission to the state-run medical colleges.