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The Madras High Court today ordered status quo on the admission process of MBBS and BDS courses in Tamil Nadu till the adjudication of a plea against a state government order reserving 85 per cent of the seats to state board students and only 15 per cent for CBSE and other boards. Justice K. Ravichandra Baabu gave the directive while reserving orders after day-long arguments on a petition by Darnish Kumar, a student represented by his parents, and two others challenging the June 22 state government order. Defending the G. O, Advocate General R Muthukumaraswamy said the policy of the state government was not in favour of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Two bills seeking exemption for the state from the NEET for both under-graduate and post-graduate medical courses had been passed by the assembly and the Presidential assent for the same was awaited. He further submitted that out of 4.30 lakh students under the state board as many as 84,000 had appeared for NEET whereas as out of 4,000 students under the CBSE, a total of 2,000 had taken the entrance test. But, more than 50 per cent of the questions in NEET were based on the CBSE syllabus.
There was an inequality in the all-India exam. Under the 85-15 per cent quota, around 2,000 state board students and 520 CBSE students would get chance for medical seats, he said. Assailing the G. O, the petitioners submitted that the Supreme court has clearly stated that when admission is based on entrance examination NEET, it should make no difference whether the qualifying examination is conducted by the state board or CBSE because no discrimination can be made between the schools affiliated to both the boards. There can be no distribution of seats between state and other board students and the petitioners who have qualified in XII Board Examinations from schools within the state were entitled to be considered against all available seats in MBBS and BDS courses. The result of NEET alone can be considered, they argued. After conclusion of the arguments, the judge reserved orders on the petitions and ordered status quo till the final order. As per the present situation, the merit list for medical courses has to be published on July 14 and the counseling to start on July 17. A similar petition against the G. O was filed in the Supreme Court which, however, on July 7 declined to entertain it and directed the petitioner to approach the Madras High Court.
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