The Madras High Court instructed the Centre to take a clear stand on the State’s legislation that is providing 7.5% of horizontal reservation to the NEET-qualified government school students during medical admissions every year.
The writ petition was filed by senior counsel Sriram Panchu in which the petitioner challenged the law.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy accepted the plea and thereby directed the Centre to file the response within 4 weeks.
After the State government filed a 76-page counter-affidavit the Madras High Court issued the direction.
The affidavit filed defended the Tamil Nadu Admission process to the Undergraduate courses in various fields like Medicine, Dentistry, Indian Medicine and Homeopathy and also mentioned the Students of Government Schools Act of 2020.
The counter filed through E. Manoharan, Special Government Pleader submitted that 435/5,567 MBBS and BDS seats are allotted to government school students from 2021-2021 as per the Students of Government Schools Act of 2020.
This was done so, for the upliftment of the students belonging to the backward/weaker section of the society.
The government stated, “Government school students form a distinct and special category/class by themselves due to their economic, social and educational backwardness.”
Article 246 (2) read with Entry 25 of List III, Article 15 and Article 46 provide reservation to the weaker classes.
Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan, filed the counter affidavit for the Chief Secretary and stated that the students of the government schools have been found to be socially, educationally and economically backward classes of the society.
The government further stated, “heir [government school students’] cognitive abilities have also been found to be 15 months behind students hailing from socio-economically forward backgrounds.”
After receiving the counter affidavit filed, senior counsel Rev. Fr. Xavier Arulraj representing a similar writ petition urged the court to permit 2 weeks for filing a rejoinder.
The judges thereby accepted the request and adjourned the hearing by 4 weeks.