Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 23
In a significant judgment that will change the way students are admitted to postgraduate medical courses in Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that merit in NEET would be the sole criterion, and reservation based on domicile would be unsustainable. The only course available to the college was to fill the seats through merit obtained by candidates in NEET, a Division Bench of the High Court ruled, as it struck down a clause in the prospectus in as much as it gave primacy and emphasis to a person's residence and association with a city to grant a concession in merit.
The Bench of Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Lalit Batra ruled: “In the matters of admission to postgraduate courses, such a reservation/preference which has its foundations in a long-discarded principle, that is domicile, will be unsustainable”.
The Bench added that all clauses introduced in the brochure to describe a candidate with a background of Chandigarh were be unsustainable in law, as they had no rationale to the objects sought to be achieved even if it was assumed that such a preference was permissible in law.
The ruling came on a bunch of two petitions filed against the Union Territory of Chandigarh and another respondent by Shrey Goel and other petitioners desirous of seeking admission to the MD/MS courses. They had claimed that the clause was in breach of several Supreme Court pronouncements as it was tending to subvert merit by granting benefit to a few by offering them preference in the matter of admission by giving primacy to their place of residence.
Among other things, the clause said the UT pool category would include candidates with a background of Chandigarh. They should have studied for five years in the UT; candidates whose parents had resided in the UT for at least five years either in pursuit of a profession or a job; and children of persons who have held/hold immovable property in the UT for five years – all at any time prior to the last date of the submission of the application.
“None of these contingencies to our minds have any sustainable rationale as they even take into fold those persons who have had a brief flirtation with the city of Chandigarh either in education of their ward, in residence or through property, which at best can be termed a romantic liaison with the city, but it cannot form a valid consideration for a preference while assessing merit to a postgraduate course,” the Bench asserted.
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