#NEET: We are accountable to the students of Maharashtra, State govt

Nitish Kashyap

The Bombay High Court today saw the state government arguing vehemently in favour of students from Maharashtra, and their right to admissions in private medical colleges located within the state.

Acting Advocate General Rohit Deo made his submissions before Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and MS Sonak J in a courtroom packed with medical aspirants and their parents.

Deo’s arguments were hinged on the “reasonableness” of the domicile criteria introduced by the state government with respect to medical admissions. The acting AG said that the state government was well within it’s right to make these rules.

“The reasonableness has to be ascertained from the standpoint of the beneficiary class (ie Maharashtra students) not the outside students. When our students go to other states they have to face the same problem….probably 10-11 states have similar legislations in place.”

“We are accountable to the students of Maharashtra not the petitioners. They are giving the impression that this 15% [quota] available for outside students is their right but the truth is that it is a shackle put on the state by the apex court on the state’s right to provide such restrictions!”

Senior counsel Vineet Naik argued for the petitioner private medical college, while senior counsel MM Vashi argued for the intervenors. The intervention application tendered today argues for students with a state domicile, in effect supporting the state’s stand. Vashi argued that domicile is different from reservation.

The fundamental question raised by the bench was the fundamental right to carry on a trade guaranteed by  Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution. Sonak J also stressed on the issue of “unreasonable restriction” raised in the PA Inamdar judgement.

Once the oral submissions were over, CJ Manjula Chellur said the order in the matter would be passed either this Friday or on the coming Monday. Once this was done, the state government could release the selection list, which can either be an all India list or a state domicile list.

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