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After protest, Gauhati HC stays Mizoram’s new technical education rules

The student body demanded first preference should be given to students from the ethnic Zo community, which forms a majority in the state.

Written by Adam Halliday | Aizawl |
June 25, 2015 4:40:31 pm

The Gauhati High Court has stayed the Mizoram government’s new technical education rules that place “Zo-Ethnic people who are native inhabitants” in category 1 of the state’s selection criteria, by which they are given first preference to fill up available seats under the state’s quota in various colleges across India.

According to the new rules, students who are not in category 1 — specified as “Non-Zo-Ethnic people who are non-native inhabitants” — would then fill up the remaining seats. This includes several ethnic minorities as well as those from elsewhere who live permanently in the state.

The Mizoram Chakma Students’ Union had approached the Gauhati High Court and challenged the new rules, notified in March this year after the Mizo Zirlai Pawl, a student body, pressured the government by picketing the Higher Education office in Aizawl.

Beginning September 2014, the MZP protested that more than 40 non-Zo students are getting seats in various medical and engineering colleges under the state’s quota.

The student body demanded first preference should be given to students from the ethnic Zo community, which forms a majority in the state.

The Chakmas, who mostly live in the Chakma Autonomous District of southern Mizoram, had protested against the new rules, calling it discriminatory. The community’s main student body meanwhile went to court against the rules through a Public Interest Litigation.

The Gauhati High Court on Wednesday passed an interim stay order against the new selection criteria.

The case is likely to be heard again after the HC’s summer vacation is over sometime in July.

Mizoram’s Higher and Technical Education Commissioner and Secretary, K Lalnghinglova, called a meeting of officials on Thursday.

An official who attended said the government will draft it’s responses to the HC for the next hearing, but added it remains uncertain what will happen to the hundreds of students who have cleared the technical entrance exams.

Mizoram currently has a quota of 176 medical and 130 engineering seats in various institutes across India, according to another official who added it remains unclear what is in store for the students who have been found eligible to fill these seats.

Telephone calls to H&TE Commissioner and Secretary K Lalnghinglova’s office remained unanswered by the time of filing this report.

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