In a major relief to reserved category students applying for professional courses in the state, the Maharashtra government will allow applicants to take admission even if they don’t have a caste validity certificate at the time of the admission. However, the applicants will have to furnish an undertaking that the validity certificate will be submitted within three months of admission.
State Education Minister Vinod Tawde told The Indian Express that the education department was in discussion with the social justice and tribal development departments. “We are determined to come out with the order and a Government Resolution to the effect will be issued shortly,” said Tawde.
The Indian Express had on Tuesday reported that the state admission regulating authority — an apex body conducting admissions to all professional courses — has made it mandatory for applicants to produce caste validity certificates at the time of registration. This has left applicants from reserved categories in a dilemma as those who do not have a validity certificate in hand will have to apply as general category candidates, losing out on seats reserved for SC/ST and OBC categories.
While the new rule was introduced in line with a September 2017 Supreme Court order, the state government has now decided to take a U-turn on the matter. “In the interest of the students, we will take this decision. If it is considered a contempt of court, we will bear the consequences,” said Tawde.
“We will ask students to submit an affidavit at the time of admission that they will make their caste validity certificates available with the institute no later than three months from the date of admission. This will be applicable for all professional courses except medical. “In case of medical and dental courses, the medical education department will have to take a decision,” said Tawde.
On September 6, 2017, the Supreme Court set aside an interim order by the Bombay High Court allowing medical students to get admissions on the basis of an affidavit to produce caste validity certificates at a later time. The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court had in July 2017 ruled that during the admission to medical colleges through NEET, selected students be allowed to produce an affidavit “stating that they would on receipt of the certificate of validity from the competent Scrutiny Committee duly forward it to the authorities”.
However, a Supreme Court bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice AM Khanwilkar said : “We are obliged to say that the Division Bench of the High Court has been absolutely ill-advised to pass such an interim order. The same is hereby set aside.” The bench ruled: “All such candidates without Caste Validity Certificate will be treated as general category candidate in the next selection process if found otherwise eligible.”
This year, the admission authority of Maharashtra introduced the new rule and applicants were worried that they didn’t have enough time to apply for a caste validity certificate.