Chennai: The Madras High Court today quashed the June 22 Tamil Nadu Government order reserving 85 per cent of medical and dental seats to State Board students and the remaining 15 per cent for CBSE and other Boards.
Passing orders on a batch of petitions filed by CBSE students, Justice K. Ravichandrababu quashed it on the ground that it amounted to discrimination among equals.
The court also directed the government to prepare a fresh merit list and conduct the counselling. Reacting to the order, the Tamil Nadu Government said it would file an appeal in the court.
Talking to reporters, Health Minister Dr C. Vijayabaskar said the government would file an appeal before a two-member Bench in the court.
He said the State government was still steadfast against NEET. Noting that the impugned reservation was bad in law and violated Article 14 of the Constitution (Equality before law), the Judge said today’s order would apply to all students concerned, including the petitioners.
“There is no difficulty for this court to come to the conclusion that the impugned reservation amounts to discrimination among equals and that it violates Article 14 of the Constitution.”
It is an arbitrary exercise of power that it is totally unreasonable that under the guise of level playing, it makes the equals unequals,” the Judge observed.
The reservation also indirectly meddled with the object and process of NEET and compromised on merits of selection.
In its submission, the State government, justified issuing an order, saying it was not in favour of NEET, which had more than 50 per cent questions based on CBSE syllabus and hence there was an inequality in the all-India exam.
The petitioners contended that the Apex court had clearly stated that when admission was based on NEET exam, it should make no difference whether the qualifying examination was conducted by the State Board or CBSE because no discrimination could be made between the schools affiliated to both the Boards.