Published: 15th July 2017
No reservation, only NEET: Why the Madras HC agreed with Nalini Chidambaram that giving state board students 85 percent reservation was discriminatory
The Madras High Court on Friday struck down the State Government's move to create 85 percent reservation for State Board syllabus students, calling it discriminatory to students of other boards.
As a last ditch attempt, the Tamil Nadu State government reserved 85 percent seats for State Board students after petitions filed against NEET failed to garner any positive results. The government attempted to create a level-playing platform for students of all boards by recognising the fact that the State Board students were much larger in numbers and were at a disadvantage because their syllabus didn't prepare them for the exam like CBSE syllabus did.
The government attempted to create a level-playing platform for students of all boards by recognising the fact that the State Board students were much larger in numbers and were at a disadvantage because their syllabus didn't prepare them for the exam like CBSE syllabus did.
However, ironically, the Court stated that the system was anything but a "level-playing field, even claiming that it is in violation of Article 14 (equality before law). The petitioners against the reservation were represented by some of the top attorney's in the city including Nalini Chidambaram and P S Raman.
Nalini Chidambaram, wife of former Union minister P Chidambaram and P S Raman, former advocate general, among many other prominent advocates have represented the petitioners, namely students from the CBSE stream. In their petition, the representatives have argued that the reservation is based on uncertain proposition and the State government is trying to treat equals as non-equals by making this reservation.
They also accuse the State government of giving preference to lesser meritorious students of State syllabus, thereby merit is given a go-by. The petitioners also say that the "game pole cannot change after the game has started".
The petition also pointed out to the fact that Central Board student of the state cannot be given step-motherly treatment." Another point raised by the petitioners is that CBSE only conducts the exams but has nothing to do with the preparation of the syllabus so the CBSE students are not in a more advantageous position."
Pointing out that the syllabus was already in the domain since 2011, the petition said that the "State syllabus students had enough time to prepare".
In his judgement, C Ravichandrababu said that the reservation was a discrimination among equals and called it an arbitrary exercise of power, "It is totally unreasonable, under the guise of level playing, it makes the equals unequals, it has no nexus between the objects ought to be achieved, that it indirectly meddles with the object and process of NEET and that it amounts to compromising on the merits of the selection."
While claiming that the court still cares about the upliftment of the "students from rural background who are studying State board" but "not through unlawful means and by grave discrimination among equals".
Since the judgment was passed, the State government has said that they will appeal against the order. However, activists int he city said that the order was expected because reservation on the basis of a syllabus would not be allowed, "But the State has to work hard towards getting the presidential nod for the Bill that we have proposed. And the CBSE and state should release the merit list so we'll be able to figure out the performances of students from both the boards," said C Ravindranath, general secretary, Doctors Association for Social Equality.