Are we not ashamed of opposing NEET? HC judge asks TN govt

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The Madras High Court on Wednesday, March 15, made some critical observations on Tamil Nadu government’s opposition to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) – a national level examination for entrance to premium medical institute.

“Are we not ashamed of opposing the NEET? Do you underestimate the ability of our students and the standard of education in Tamil Nadu? Do you feel that our students will not do better than students of other states? When all other states have not objected what is the reason for (TN) opposing it?” Justice N Kirubakaran asked.

The observations were made during the hearing of a batch of petitions seeking allotment of 50% postgraduate seats in private colleges to government quota.

He posed the questions when counsel for the state health department brought to the notice of the court that on NEET, the Tamil Nadu Assembly

had passed a bill to exempt the state and it was pending assent from the President.

Later, passing interim orders, the Judge directed the Medical Council of India (MCI) to file an affidavit on the number of seats approved in post-graduate degree and diploma courses in the colleges in Tamil Nadu and how they were filled in the last academic year.

He also sought to know the steps taken by MCI to see that the seats were filled up as per merits and regulations and quota fixed by the MCI. The affidavit should also state the procedure to be followed for 2017-18 by the colleges.

The petitioners sought a direction to the Tamil Nadu Health Secretary to appropriate 50 % seats in recognised PG and diploma courses in respect of each speciality from all private medical colleges.

During the hearing, the Judge also pulled up MCI for its ‘inaction’ as he posed a series of questions.

Being the approving authority, what was the role being played by MCI in controlling the institutions which are running like ‘business firms’? he asked.

The judge asked what MCI was doing when the institutions did not follow the guidelines.

“When the institutions collect huge amounts is it not your duty to monitor the institutions being an authority of giving approval to the institutions,” he said.

Expressing anguish over the cost incurred in medical education where a student had to pay near about Rs 1.5 crore for specially offered courses, the judge asked “How we can expect these people to serve to the public at large.”

Referring to a submission that the government was spending Rs 20 lakh on each medical student, he said the government ought to have made them to work for the public (in government hospitals) for at least ten years.

The Judge directed the MCI to state as to how much had been spent on a medical student in graduate and PG courses separately as per the budgetary allocation in this regard.

MCI was also directed to state whether it had computerised data base in connection with the faculties in each institution.

The Judge adjourned the matter to April 3 for further hearing.

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