The Madras High Court today quashed a Tamil Nadu government order reserving 85 per cent of MBBS and BDS seats to state board students and only 15 per cent for CBSE and other boards, holding that it amounted to discrimination among equals. Allowing petitions by some CBSE students challenging the June 22 state government order, Justice K Ravichndrababu held that the impugned reservation was bad in law and violated Art 14 of the Constitution (Equality before law).
He also held that the reservation indirectly meddled with the object and process of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and compromised on merits of selection.
The judge directed authorities to prepare a fresh merit list and conduct the counselling for admissions accordingly. He had on July 11 reserved orders on the petitions by Darnish Kumar, a student represented by his parents, and two others and ordered status quo on the admission process till the adjudication of the matter.
The state government had defended the G.O, saying the policy of the state government was not in favour of NEET, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). More than 50 per cent of the questions in the NEET were based on the CBSE syllabus and hence there was an inequality in the all-India exam, it had contended.
Assailing the G.O, the petitioners had submitted that the Supreme court had clearly stated that when admission is based on entrance examination NEET, it should make no difference whether the qualifying examination was conducted by the state board or CBSE because no discrimination can be made between the schools affiliated to both the boards.
As per the earlier schedule, the merit list for medical courses was to be published today and the counselling to start on July 17.